February demand still strong

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that February 2010 international scheduled air traffic showed continued strengthening of demand. Compared to February 2009, cargo demand grew 26.5 per cent while passenger demand was up 9.5 per cent. Iata noted that cargo traffic, which plunged much further than passenger demand and ultimately hit bottom in December […]


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that February 2010 international scheduled air traffic showed continued strengthening of demand.

Compared to February 2009, cargo demand grew 26.5 per cent while passenger demand was up 9.5 per cent. Iata noted that cargo traffic, which plunged much further than passenger demand and ultimately hit bottom in December 2008, has a further 3 per cent to recover in order to return to pre-crisis levels.

“We are moving in the right direction. In two to three months, the industry should be back to pre-recession traffic levels. This is still not a full recovery. The task ahead is to adjust to two years of lost growth,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA noted that European airlines are benefiting least from the strong upturn in air freight volumes, with year-on-year growth of just 7.2 per cent in February, compared to 26.5 per cent on average. Despite the sluggish US economy, North American airlines have seen a rebound (+34.1 per cent) equivalent to those experienced by Asia-Pacific (+34.5 per cent) and Latin American airlines (+41.9 per cent).

But IATA also sounded a cautionary note saying the strong air freight upturn has been largely driven by the business inventory cycle. “We can expect this part of the cycle to wear-out in the second half of the year when inventories reach normal levels. From that point, we can expect slower growth as air freight will be driven by consumer spending and world trade growth.”