Airfreight traffic nosedives by nearly 5 per cent

29 November 2011

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29 November 2011 | Adam Leach

Global demand for transporting cargo by air dropped by 4.7 per cent in October, compared with 2010, amid a persistent decline in business confidence.

Data published yesterday by the International Air Travel Association (IATA), showed that the air-based freight market has suffered losses considerably worse than those merely resulting from a reduction in world trade, which has declined by one per cent.

“Cargo is the story of the month,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general and CEO.  “Air freight is among the first sectors to suffer when business confidence declines. While business confidence has declined considerably, industrial output has not. But in anticipation of weaker economic activity, there is a shift to cheaper and slower modes of transport.”

IATA reported that a move by the industry to reduce fleet numbers had failed to limit unused capacity. The figures also showed that while the Asia-Pacific region is the one most at the mercy of the market, it was continuing to do well on the back of its growing dominance in world trade. Carriers in the region reported the highest capacity of freight carried at 58.8 per cent, 12.3 per cent higher than the industry average.

Tyler called on policy makers to take steps to support the industry, highlighting its importance in facilitating fast-paced trade as key to stimulating quick economic growth. “The economic prospects for 2012 are uncertain,” he said, “but the track record of aviation's ability to act as a catalyst for economic activity is rock-solid. Now is the time for governments to use aviation strategically in their efforts to put economies back on track.”

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