IATA sees gentle surge in air cargo demand

“The world is moving again,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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IATA’s director general and CEO.
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Giovanni Bisignani
IATA’s director general and CEO.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported full-year 2010 demand statistics for international scheduled air traffic that showed a 20.6 percent increase in freight. Demand growth outstripped capacity increases of 8.9 percent for cargo. The freight load factor saw a 5.2 percentage point improvement to 53.8 percent.

“The world is moving again,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO. “After the biggest demand decline in the history of aviation in 2009, people started to travel and do business again in 2010. Airlines ended the year slightly ahead of early 2008 volumes, but with a pathetic 2.7 percent profit margin. The challenge is to turn the demand for mobility into sustainable profits,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Compared to the pre-recession levels of early 2008, air freight was 1 percent higher than pre-recession levels, however volumes have fallen 5 percent since the peak of the post-recession inventory re-stocking boom in early 2010.

“Most Californians don’t appreciate that, in terms of dollar value, almost half of this state’s export trade moves by air,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.
The outlook for exports going into 2011 is balance of promise and worry, he cautioned.

“Outside of Europe, most of our primary trading partners continue to be major customers for California exporters, while a number of emerging economies in Latin America and Southeast Asia are significantly increasing their imports from California.”

Indeed, IATA reports that the regional variation in growth remains particularly marked. Latin American carriers recorded the highest full-year growth rate of 29.1 percent, followed by Middle East carriers (accounting for 11 percent of the market) at 26.7 percent, Asia Pacific airlines (with a 45 percent market share) grew by 24.0 percent, Africa at 23.8 percent and North America by 21.8 percent.  Against these industry gains, Europe’s 10.8 percent growth stands out as exceptionally weak.


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 [email protected]

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