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Upswing in Cargo Brightens Cautious Demand Outlook


IATA Pressrelease 9 Jan.13

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released traffic results for November 2012 which showed an improvement in both passenger and air freight demand. Air travel was 4.6% higher compared to November 2011, up on the October result of 2.9%. Air freight volumes edged up 1.6% over the same period after declining 2.6% in October, year to year. Passenger capacity rose 3.2% and load factor improved one percentage point to 77.3% compared to the year-ago period.

“November brought some positive signs for air transport demand—particularly for air cargo. It is premature to consider this a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground. But, when coupled with positive economic developments in the US and an improvement in business confidence in recent months, the conditions are aligning to see a return to growth in 2013. In 2013 we expect that cargo volumes will grow 1.4%, and passenger traffic will increase by 4.5% worldwide,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Passenger markets have held up better than cargo in the face of adverse economic conditions. But the current level of air travel is just 2% higher than at the start of 2012. This is considerably weaker than the long-term average growth rate,” said Tyler.

Compared to October, November passenger traffic grew 0.6%. The majority of growth came from domestic markets, particularly China. November air freight volumes increased 2.4% on October. This reflects a shift in seasonal shopping to online retailers, which depend heavily on air cargo. It also shows improved consumer confidence in the US. Seasonally-adjusted air freight volumes have now risen back to the levels of mid-2012, after declines in the third quarter.

The Bottom Line:

“The recently-ended holiday period serves as a reminder of the value aviation provides. Travel made possible by aviation brought seasonal goods to markets and re-united friends and families around the globe to celebrate.

2013 is the 100th year of commercial aviation. Over that century, through an ever-expanding network, air transport has transformed the way we live, work and play, providing jobs for some 57 million people and supporting $2.2 trillion in economic activity by connecting people and goods on 35,000 routes.

But continued connectivity growth is not guaranteed. The industry’s expected margin in 2013 of 1.3% is very weak. Furthermore current returns on investment are less than half the industry’s cost of capital, which continues to erode shareholder value.

In the New Year, governments should resolve to bring down the barriers to connectivity growth. This can be done by addressing excessive taxation, high infrastructure costs, onerous regulation and improving the capacity and efficiency of airports and air navigation services. A strong air transport sector is in the self-interest of governments eager to support economic growth and development. Trade is the key to growth. For that connectivity is critical. And it is aviation that makes connectivity happen,” said Tyler.

For more information, please contact:
Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org


Notes for Editors:

IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.
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