New report sees recovery underway for air cargo

Air cargo traffic should grow by about 7-10 per cent this year with a likely recovery to the pre-recession peak by 2012, says the author of a new report on the impact of the global recession on the air cargo industry. By Donald Urquhart.

Air Cargo Management Group’s (ACMG’s) newly-released International Air Freight and Express Industry Performance Analysis 2009/10 confirmed what has been clear to all participants in the industry, that it was the most difficult year ever for the industry.

Recession-induced double-digit declines in air freight traffic first appeared in the fourth quarter of 2008, and continued for a full twelve months. “Indications are that international air freight for 2009 will show a decline of nearly 15 per cent compared to the results for 2008,” said Robert Dahl, ACMG managing director, “making 2009 by far the worst year ever for the industry in terms of year-over-year performance.”

But Dahl noted that even the express companies have not been immune to the negative impacts of the recession, but the 6.9 per cent decline found by ACMG in the volume of international express shipments was much less severe than the overall air freight/express industry contraction.

Key recovery signs
But he goes on to note that there is growing evidence that the air freight market has started to recover as traffic levels have rebounded from a low point in the first quarter of 2009. “Traffic levels early in 2009 were no higher than they had been in 2000, suggesting that the industry had lost a full decade of growth,” noted Dahl.