Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Air Freight Sees Worse Decline Since WWII Says IATA

Hard Year Ahead for Operators
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its figures both for December and 2009 which reveal, not entirely unsurprisingly, that air freight figures for the year were massively down from 2008.

IATA reports that air cargo demand is down by 10.1% with average load factors of 49.1%. The association states that this is the worst ever decline recorded since the Second World War.

“In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen. We have permanently lost 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Though December’s freight figures show an improvement of 24.4% compared to the same month in 2008, IATA state that this improvement has been exaggerated by the crash in demand for air freight at that time. With seasonally adjusted figures, demand for December compared to November 2009 was essentially flat with a 0.2% decline.

Bisignani added that: “The industry starts 2010 with some enormous challenges. The worst is behind us, but it is not time to celebrate. Adjusting to 2.5-3.5 years of lost growth means that airlines face another spartan year focused on matching capacity carefully to demand and controlling costs.

IATA are also concerned how airlines, hard hit by such poor results, are to deal with the increased efforts required for security in the face of the global threat of terrorism and are calling for greater governmental support in this area.

“We face a renewed challenge on security as a result of the events of 25 December 2009. Governments and industry are aligned in the priority that we place on security. But the cost of security is also an issue,” said Bisignani.

“Globally, airlines spend US$5.9 billion a year on what are essentially measures concerned with national security. This is the responsibility of governments, and they should be picking up the bill.”