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Reality check for air cargo

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
August 03, 2011

The air cargo industry “is living in several different realities,” reports the International Air Transport Association.

The ability of airlines to recoup aggregated fuel costs is critical to staying in the black for the year, said IATA. Slower economic growth makes these challenges all the more difficult:

“It is certainly not the time to burden the industry with increases in other costs, including taxation,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA is forecasting an industry profit of $4 billion for 2011 which is a 78 percent fall from the $18 billion that the airlines made in 2010. On anticipated revenues of $598 billion, this translates to a net industry margin of 0.7 percent.

Freight volumes have not grown since July-August 2010. May 2010 was the post-recession re-stocking peak, compared to which the June 2011 international freight market was 6 percent smaller.

So here’s the reality check: While world trade is expanding at 7 percent a year, the benefit is being realized more by modes of transport other than air.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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