Home » Aviation » Int’l freight, passage traffic move up in July

INTERNATIONAL freight and passage traffic registered increases in July, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Freight traffic grew 22.7% over its year-ago level while passage demand jumped 9.2%.

The July figure was less than the June growth data showing 26.6% and 11.6% increases for cargo and passenger traffic, respectively. This prompted IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani to note that the recovery of the airline industry has entered a slower phase.

During the second half of 2009, he said demand was rebounding at an annualized rate of 12% for passenger and 28% for cargo. In the year to July, the annualized growth rates had dropped to 8% for passenger and 17% for air freight. However, this is still considerably above the industry’s traditional 6% growth trend.

“The recovery in demand has been faster than anticipated. But, as we look towards the end of the year, the pace of the recovery will likely slow,” Bisignani said. “The jobless economic recovery is keeping consumer confidence fragile, particularly in North America and Europe. This is affecting leisure markets and cargo traffic.”

The July global cargo demand was 4% higher than pre-crisis levels in early 2008 as a slowdown in air freight markets is expected in the second half of the year, with the economic cycle moving into a new phase.

IATA said the extraordinary freight growth rates in late 2009 and early 2010 were supported by businesses re-stocking their inventories and with the re-stocking cycle completed, air freight demand will be driven by consumer spending and business capital expenditure.

It added that weak consumer confidence in Europe and North America will be a negative factor but strengthening corporate profits are supporting an increase in capital expenditure that could continue to drive robust freight growth.

The two-speed recovery continues to see weak growth by European carriers of 12.1% in July, less than half the 25.3% increase by Asia-Pacific carriers or the 27.1% growth recorded by North American carriers.

The passage business showed that July global passenger traffic was 3% higher than the pre-crisis levels of early 2008.

Asia-Pacific carriers outperformed the industry average with a 10.9% growth in July. This is consistent with the region’s 10.6% growth measured year-to-date. A July capacity increase of less than half the demand growth (5.1%) pushed load factors higher. Leading the industry recovery, the region’s carriers are expected to report a profit of $2.2 billion. This will be the largest gain in dollar terms in 2010 compared to 2009.

European airlines saw little growth when the recovery took off in the second half of 2009. These airlines are now benefiting from long-haul expansion in 2010.

North American carriers recorded a 7.9% improvement in passenger demand in July over the same month of the previous year.

African airlines are now benefiting significantly from the economic and travel upturn, outperforming the industry with 13% growth in passenger demand in July, which is consistent with the year-to-date improvement of 13.1%.

Latin American carriers outperformed the global average with passenger growth of 14.2% in July (10.9% for the first seven months of the year).

Middle Eastern carriers continue to add the largest amount of capacity (12.8% in July and 13.2% over the first seven months of the year). The region’s carriers have managed to increase demand at even higher levels (16.8% in July and 19.4% over the first seven months of the year).

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