IATA: International cargo traffic in “free-fall”

The latest international scheduled traffic statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that in the month of December global international cargo traffic plummeted by 22.6 per cent compared to December 2007. For the full-year 2008, international cargo traffic was down 4 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent growth in 2007. “The 22.6 […]


The latest international scheduled traffic statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that in the month of December global international cargo traffic plummeted by 22.6 per cent compared to December 2007. For the full-year 2008, international cargo traffic was down 4 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent growth in 2007.

“The 22.6 per cent free fall in global cargo is unprecedented and shocking,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO. “There is no clearer description of the slowdown in worldtrade.

“Even in September 2001, when much of the global fleet was grounded, the decline was only 13.9 per cent,” he added. Air cargo carries 35 per cent of the value of goods traded internationally.”

The collapse in the airline industry’s freight business is a reflection of 20-30 per cent declines in export and import volumes being reported across Asia, North America and Europe as the global recession plumbs new depths in December, according to IATA.

Asia-Pacific carriers, accounting for 45 per cent of international cargo, led the December decline with a 26 per cent contraction compared to the previous year. Latin American carriers saw cargo drop 23.7 per cent; North American carriers 22.2 per cent and European carriers 21.2 per cent. Single digit declines were recorded by Middle Eastern carriers down 9.2 per cent and African carriers who saw an 8 per cent drop.