Passenger Traffic Rises in September but Freight Declines

Default, IATA — By on November 22, 2011 at 8:19 am

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced traffic results for September showing diverging trends for cargo and passenger traffic. Passenger traffic was 5.6% higher than the same month last year and stronger than the 4.6% yearon- year growth recorded in August. Air freight on the other hand posted a 2.7% contraction for September compared to September 2010. This is a further deterioration from the 2.4% decline recorded in August International air travel volumes rebounded to levels reached in July, following a dip in August. The sharp decline in business confidence in most economies, and the weakness in US and European consumer confidence, suggest reluctance for both business and leisure travel. Continuing strong air travel markets may reflect the robust conditions in emerging markets and travel booked earlier in the year when there was more economic optimism. • Passenger load factors stood at 79.5% in September, slightly below the 80.1% recorded for the same month last year. Highest load factors were recorded in North America (82.6%) and Europe (82.4%). The load factor for Asia-Pacific airlines slipped to 76.0% as the region absorbs the largest number of new aircraft deliveries. • Asia-Pacific carriers saw a 4.3% increase in demand, well below the 6.3% increase in capacity. Despite strong domestic growth in India and China, growth rates for international markets slowed. • Domestic markets rose strongly in September at 3.8% (up from 2.2% in August). This was also significantly stronger than the 2.8% increase in domestic capacity. • India led the way with 18.4% growth, although slightly below the 20.1% increase in capacity. This was followed by China at 9.7% (more robust than the 8.1% increase in capacity) and Brazil where a 7.5% increase in demand was well below the 14.6% increase in capacity. • Freight volumes have fallen significantly during the third quarter. By September, freight volumes were 5% below those carried at the end of the first quarter. This represents a deterioration in trade and economic conditions. Inventory to expected sales ratios have risen and shipments by air are being cut. • Asia-Pacific carriers are the largest players in air cargo and have been the hardest hit with a 6.3% decline in demand compared to September 2010. This is despite robust economic growth in many countries in the region. The disruptions to supply chains as a result of the Japanese tsunami and earthquake continue to dampen air freight in the region.

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