Unrest and storms dent recovery

CIVIL unrest in the Middle East and severe weather is hobbling the industry’s recovery. IATA’s end of year figures for 2010 show that the emerging recovery was hit by the widespread snow falls and flooding around the world.

Looking forward, the year so far is seeing more severe weather and now mass public uprisings against allegedly corrupt governments in first Tunisia and then Egypt, Jordan and Yemen. At time of press, Air France confirmed that it had just frozen all cargo out of Egypt on its flights over heightened security concerns.

Company spokesman, Jean-Claude Raynaud, told Air Cargo News that while passenger flights were operating normally no cargo was leaving the country.
“The situation is unpredictable in many ways,” he said. “It is better to be too safe than not enough.” He stressed that this was only a temporary measure.

Michael Göntgens, spokesman for Lufthansa Cargo said that so far Lufthansa Cargo, which has minimal operations out of Egypt, was unaffected. Egyptair Cargo confirmed the same.

The unrest has caused oil prices to rise sharply.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s outgoing chief executive officer, said at the start of the unrest: “We predicted that 2011 would see a consecutive second year of profitability but with industry profits falling by 40 per cent to US$9.1 billion. This was based on an oil price of $84 per barrel (Brent). Fuel accounts for 27 per cent of operating costs and a sustained rise in the oil price could spoil the party.

For the full story read the latest free digital edition of Air Cargo News, no. 695 dated 3 February, here.

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