Air cargo demand slips back

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Demand for air cargo slipped back in September and volumes are now six per cent down on the May peak and – equivalent to pre-crisis levels, the latest figures from IATA reveal.

European carriers recorded an 11.1 per cent increase in freight demand compared to the same month in 2009. Although European exports have been helped with the weak Euro, freight demand for European carriers remains 14 per cent below pre-recession levels.

Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a 15 per cent increase in freight demand over the previous year, down from the 22.3 per cent growth recorded in August. This took the region’s carriers back to the pre-recession levels of early 2008 and, with their 44 per cent market share, contributed the most to the global drop in freight demand.

IATA said that while freight markets were expected to weaken towards year-end, September’s decline was larger than anticipated. “Consumer and business confidence remains weak in many parts of the world. Re-stocking lifted freight markets earlier in the year, but this has not been followed by spending to solidify the economic recovery. Compared to September 2009, freight capacity has increased by 11.9 per cent, below the 14.8 per cent increase volumes, pushing cargo load factors to 52.4 per cent.”

Director general Giovanni Bisignani said: “The industry’s situation is volatile. Passenger traffic represents about three quarters of the industry’s revenues. While September’s passenger growth is reassuring, the accelerating decline of air freight, including in Asia, is an early indicator of some turbulence ahead.”

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