November was a difficult month for air cargo, International Air Transport Association data revealed. Decreased demand for Asian-manufactured goods in the U.S. and eurozone has contributed to freight markets shrinking 3.1 percent, year-over-year, according to an IATA press release.
This number deviates moderately from IATA’s October statistics, which showed cargo markets increasing 1.1 percent from October 2010. To IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler, November’s weak performance stemmed from a number of issues.
“Weak global economic performance is being reflected in air transport markets,” he said in a statement. “Freight markets have contracted some 4 percent compared to January. Continuing economic uncertainty will likely mean market shortcomings deepening as we enter 2012.”
Of all regional carriers, those in Europe and the Asia-Pacific were hit the hardest in November, with freight volumes for these airlines falling 4.6 percent and 6.4 percent, year-over-year, respectively. African carriers also contended with slightly lower cargo traffic in November, highlighted by a 1.7-percent, year-over-year, decline.
Still, North American carriers appeared to be largely unaffected by sluggish freight volumes and saw cargo traffic grow 0.2 percent from November 2010. Latin American and Middle Eastern carriers also finished November strongly, posting 4 percent and 4.6 percent, year-over-year, growth, respectively.
Even so, capacity was down worldwide in November, according to the IATA press release, falling 6 percent from its mid-2010 peak. “While freighter capacity has been adjusted to meet demand, belly-cargo capacity follows the trend in passenger demand, [declining 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis],” according to the press release.
This year could be as equally challenging for passenger and freight markets, industry experts fear. IATA, which forecasts a $3.5 billion profit for 2012, said the global aviation sector could experience losses in excess of $8 billion if problems in the eurozone aren’t resolved.
Because of that, Tyler has called for programs that promote aviation, instead of penalize it. “Aviation can be a catalyst for [economic] growth,” Tyler said in a statement. “But that depends on governments allowing airlines to get on with the business of providing global connectivity. The New Year’s resolution for every government with respect to aviation should be to stop over-taxation or misregulation of this vital economic driver.”