27 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie
Demand for international air freight is "shockingly low" but the rate of decline has levelled, according to data released today by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA traffic figures for April showed international cargo demand was down 21.7 per cent last month, compared with April 2008 - the fifth consecutive month the figure was down by about 20 per cent on the same time a year earlier.
The report said: "This sideways progression may indicate that we have seen the worst of the economic downturn. Business confidence is improving."
But IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani (pictured) described freight levels as "shockingly low".
He said in a statement: "The worst may be over. However, we have not yet seen any signs that recovery is imminent."
IATA represents more than 200 airlines, comprising 93 per cent of scheduled international air traffic.
International air cargo demands declined for carriers in all regions last month.
The report said Middle Eastern carriers were the strongest performers, down 11.1 per cent last month, compared with the same time last year. It said European carriers were down 23.3 per cent, North American 22.4 per cent, Asia-Pacific 22.3 per cent, African 18.8 per cent and Latin American 24.2 per cent.