Air freight recovers in 2010

City A.M. Reporter
AIR freight grew by over one fifth in 2010, in a sign of global economic recovery, but severe weather in Europe and North America dented passenger demand at the end of the year, the airline body IATA said yesterday.

Both passenger and freight demand have now exceeded pre-recession levels but freight volumes have dropped five per cent since the peak of the post-recession restocking boom in early 2010, the International Air Transport Association said.

IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said the world was moving again after an unprecedented decline in aviation demand in 2009. Airlines ended the year ahead of 2008 volumes but with a profit margin of only 2.7 per cent.

“The challenge is to turn the demand for mobility into sustainable profits,” he said.

Demand for air cargo -- an important indicator of world trade flows -- was 6.7 per cent higher in December than a year earlier after rising 5.4 per cent in November, to show a 20.6 per cent rise for the full year, IATA’s monthly traffic data showed.

The World Trade Organisation has projected that global trade rebounded by a record 13.5 per cent in 2010. IATA estimates that some 30 per cent of world trade by value -- more expensive goods than bulk cargos -- are moved by air.

With freight demand growth oscillating between 35.2 per cent in May and 5.8 per cent in November, the industry is heading towards a more normal growth pattern in line with historical growth rates of five to six per cent. Severe weather in North America and Europe dented passenger demand in December, with growth slowing to 4.9 per cent from 8.2 per cent. in November.