Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Air freight demand grows amid ‘cautious improving business confidence’

Air cargo markets contracted by 0.7 percent for 2011 but recorded positive demand growth of 0.2 percent in December, suggesting that industrial production and international trade may be stabilizing, the latest traffic results from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show.

Air freight markets turned up at the end of the year after shrinking through much of the summer and autumn as business confidence across major economies, and export orders, slumped.

Although international freight markets contracted 0.6 percent for the full year and 0.8 percent in December compared to a year ago, December international demand was 1.5 percent ahead of the level in November, while domestic demand was up 3.2 percent compared to November and 5.5 percent compared to December 2010, the Geneva-based association said in a February 1 media release.

“Freight markets have now shown sequential month-over-month growth in November and December, adding evidence to the view that international trade may be stabilizing,” it pointed out.

“However, the situation for airlines in these markets has deteriorated significantly. Freight load factors declined considerably to 45.9% in 2011, as measures to match capacity with demand by reducing the freighter fleet have been offset by introduction of new twin aisle passenger aircraft,” the IATA added.

“Cautious improving business confidence is good news. But 2012 is still going to be a tough year,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“Improving business confidence and encouraging news from the US economy are heartening developments. But it is far too early to start predicting a soft landing for 2012. The euro zone crisis is far from over. Failure to achieve a durable solution will have dire consequences for economies around the world. And it would most certainly tip the airline industry into the red,” explained Tyler.

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