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Air cargo falls for first time since 2003 SARS crisis

2008-8-11

INTERNATIONAL airfreight volumes registered a decline for the first time in more than three years in June according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which blamed a slowdown in the global economy.

IATA said cargo traffic decreased by 0.8 per cent compared with the same month last year, while passenger traffic grew by 3.8 per cent, which is reported to be the lowest rate of increase since 2003 when the industry was reeling from the SARS health crisis which deterred passengers from travelling on aircraft.

"With consumer and business confidence falling and sky-high oil prices, the situation will get a lot worse," IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement.

"The airline sector is in trouble," he said. "Falling demand and rising costs are re-shaping the industry."

IATA is now predicting that the global airline industry could record losses of US$6.1 billion this year, reported Reuters, which said the June cargo decline was the first negative reading since May 2005.

Latin American airlines suffered the biggest drop in freight volumes, with cargo falling 12.7 per cent in June, and carriers in the Asia Pacific region registering a 4.8 per cent drop.

On the other hand, North American airlines recorded a four per cent year-on-year increase in June with regard to cargo volumes, while airlines based in the Middle East registered freight growth of 12.1 per cent.

Year-to-date, cargo traffic rose by 2.4 per cent compared to the first six months of 2007, IATA said. Global passenger traffic was up 5.4 per cent during this period.


 
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