IATA records only slight improvement for June

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced international scheduled traffic results for June showing airfreight demand was down 16.5 per cent compared to last year.

This is a moderate improvement, albeit from extremely weak levels, over May, which was 17.4 per cent below 2008 levels. There has been some improvement in world trade and, after adjusting for seasonal fluctuations, freight volumes rose six per cent from the low point recorded in December 2008. However, the use of airfreight capacity on international routes remained very weak (47.3 per cent) in June due to unbalanced trade flows with Asia and some market share loss to ocean transport.

June marked the 13th consecutive month of contracting demand for international air cargo. Despite reaching a bottom in December, improvement has been slowed by high inventory levels and soft demand. At the current pace, it will likely take several years before demand returns to early 2008 levels.

Asia-Pacific airlines reported a 15.8 per cent drop in June. While still extremely weak, this is an improvement compared to the 18.1 per cent fall in May. This reflects improved economic conditions in a number of emerging Asian economies, such as China.

The economic recovery in Europe and North America is being held back as consumers choose to repay debt rather than increase spending. European carriers saw the weakest demand for freight in June at -20.3 per cent. This was a softening in demand from the -19.2 per cent experienced in May. North American carriers reported a 18.6 per cent fall in June demand. This is relatively unchanged from the 18.8 per cent fall in May.

Middle Eastern carriers reported a -4.2 per cent decline in freight demand resulting in a 40.2 per cent load factor.

African carriers saw demand decline by 20.2 per cent while Latin American carriers saw demand fall by 14.2 per cent. Freight load factors in these regions were the lowest at 26.6 per cent and 31.6 per cent respectively.

“These are extremely challenging times,” said Giovanni Bisignani (above right), IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, repeating almost verbatim what he has been forced to say every month this year.

“There are no signs of an early economic recovery. Flexibility is critical in finding new sources of capital and new markets. This crisis highlights the need for governments to replace outdated restrictions on ownership and market access with modern commercial freedoms. Quick action is needed.”