International air freight fell in October – IATA

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International air freight traffic was 4.7% lower in October than a year previously, while international passenger traffic grew 3.6% but at a slowing pace, the International Air Transport Association said today.

“Cargo is the story of the month. Since mid-year the market has shrunk by almost 5% and this is far greater than the 1% fall in world trade. Air freight is among the first sectors to suffer when businesses’ confidence declines,” IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said in a statement.

While business confidence has declined considerably in recent months, industrial output has not. But in anticipation of weaker economic activity, there is a shift to cheaper and slower modes of transport.

In stark contrast to the decline in air freight, the trend for air travel remains upwards, but with very strong regional differences. Despite the deepening euro-zone crisis European carriers have showed above trend demand growth of 6.4%. “With Europe accounting for 29.2% of global air travel, this suggests that the current overall strength in air travel is based on fragile foundations,” said Tyler.

Total freight traffic including domestic journeys fell by 4.7% while passenger traffic including domestic journeys rose 3.6% in October.



Tyler urged policy makers to reflect on aviation’s significant social and economic benefits. Aviation supports 33 million jobs and trillions of dollars of economic activity are supported by air transport’s connectivity. This year more than 2.8 billion people and 46 million tonnes of cargo are expected to be transported by air.
“The economic prospects for 2012 are uncertain, 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. Implementing a Single European Sky, delivering NextGen air traffic management in the US and supporting the commercialisation of sustainable biofuels for aviation are examples of government action that would generate jobs, improve environmental performance and help secure the industry’s long-term success and economic benefits,” said Tyler.