Freight Growth Dips Sharply
Geneva – The International Air
Transport Association (IATA) released international traffic data for May
that showed a significant drop in cargo growth to 1.3% while passenger
traffic grew 6.0%.
cargo demand is considerably down from the 4.3% recorded for the full year
2007. For the first five months of 2008, air freight volumes were up 2.8%.
The biggest cause of the slow growth came from a 0.5% contraction in Asian
carrier traffic. This resulted from the impact of the earthquake in China
and weakness in the Japanese economy. Asian carriers also saw weakness in
transpacific markets with increased competition from US carriers taking
advantage of the weak US dollar.
International passenger demand grew 6% in May. This is
slower than the 7.4% increase recorded for the full year 2007, but
stronger than expected given the economic downturn. The results were
skewed by a shift in the US of 1.7 billion available seat miles (2.72
billion available seat kilometers) from domestic routes to international
routes (a 7.9% rise in capacity in international markets). North American
carrier international traffic grew 8.2%, while domestic capacity fell
3.3%. Overall the underlying growth rate in global domestic and
international traffic was 3 to 4% (down from an average of 6% for
International load factors rose slightly for the first time
in three months to 74.3% on slower capacity growth of 5.4% during the
price of oil is re-shaping the industry. The major shifts in traffic flows
experienced during May reflect this,” said Bisignani, IATA’s Director
General and CEO.
jet fuel averaged US$160 per barrel - 87% higher than the same time in
2007. By comparison, crude prices averaged US$123 per barrel - an 81%
increase. “Jet fuel margins are increasing the impact of skyrocketing oil
prices for the aviation industry. Unit costs are up 20-30% and that is
going to take its toll on the bottom line. Efficiency everywhere is the
imperative. That must be understood by governments, labour and our
industry partners,” said Bisignani.
American cargo traffic grew 4.6% as US carriers shifted capacity from
domestic to international routes. In addition to expanded transpacific
opportunities, the US-EU Open Skies agreement created new opportunities
recorded a sluggish 1.4% increase. The strong Euro is damaging
competitiveness for both European exports and the European air cargo
America freight volumes contracted 13.2%. Industry restructuring saw the
replacement of retiring wide-body aircraft with narrow-bodies with
limited cargo capacity.
recorded its 11th month of air freight contraction out of the past 12
months with a fall of 6.5% during May as industry restructuring removes
bright spot was the Middle East where volumes rose 10.7% on the back of
oil-based economic growth.
Latin America continued strong growth of 13.6% reflecting robust
commodity-driven economic growth in the region.
Eastern airlines expanded their traffic 12.8%, lower than the 18.1%
increase achieved for the full year 2007 due to slower economic growth
in origin-destination regions using Middle East airports as connecting
decline in traffic carried (-2.2%) and capacity provided (-5.1%) by
African airlines reflects a loss of market share and the reduction
of unprofitable capacity in the face of high and rising fuel
the trend of the previous three months, load factors rose slightly in
May to 74.3% as high fuel prices are forcing cuts in capacity and the
retirement of older aircraft.
full May traffic results
- IATA -
(International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines
comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.
of measurement terms:
Revenue Passenger Kilometres measures actual passenger traffic
Available Seat Kilometres measures available passenger capacity
Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used. In comparison of 2008 to
2007, PLF indicates point differential between the periods compared
Freight Tonne Kilometres measures actual freight traffic
Available Tonne Kilometres measures available total capacity (combined
passenger and cargo)
statistics cover international scheduled air traffic; domestic traffic
is not included.
are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication
plus estimates for missing data.
International passenger traffic market shares by region in
terms of RPK are: Europe 32.7%, Asia Pacific 32.6%, North America 18.8%,
Middle East 9.1%, Latin America 4.5%, Africa 2.3%
International freight traffic market shares by region in
terms of FTK are: Asia Pacific 46.1%, Europe 25.9%, North America 17.2%,
Middle East 7.4%, Latin America 2.2%, Africa