Air Freight Grows 14.4 Percent In October

November 25, 2010

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International air cargo traffic picked up in October after falling since May to stand 14.4 percent higher than a year earlier, the airline industry body IATA said on Thursday.

October's year-on-year increase in air freight -- an important indicator of trade and economic recovery -- was below September's 15.5 percent rise but the monthly rise followed a 5 percent fall since May, the International Air Transport Association said in its monthly analysis of air traffic.

"Freight appears to be at a turning point," IATA said.

"But a single month does not make a trend. And it remains to be seen if this is the stabilisation in freight volumes or the start of an upward trend," its director-general, Giovanni Bisignani, added in a statement.

Freight traffic, which accounts for 35 percent of the value of goods traded internationally, is now 1 percent above pre-crisis levels of early 2008, IATA said.

Passenger demand -- a reflection of business and consumer confidence -- was 10.1 percent higher in October than a year earlier, slightly below September's 10.7 percent rise, and is now 5 percent above pre-crisis levels.

IATA said airlines were reacting to this year's rebound in demand with cautious increases in capacity.

In the first 10 months of this year an 8.5 percent increase in passenger demand was matched by a 4.0 percent increase in capacity, while a 24 percent increase in freight demand led to only a 9.2 percent rise in cargo capacity.

Airlines are planning a further 7.5 percent increase in passenger capacity for the half-year scheduling period beginning at the end of October, said IATA.

Passenger growth in October was strongest among Middle Eastern airlines and weakest in Latin America.