Air cargo industry must rebuild anew: IATA chief

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called upon the entire air cargo value chain to rebuild the air cargo industry by focusing on e-commerce, quality and security to help drive the recovery from last year’s devastating effects of the global economic meltdown. “We are starting to see some signs of optimism […]


The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called upon the entire air cargo value chain to rebuild the air cargo industry by focusing on e-commerce, quality and security to help drive the recovery from last year’s devastating effects of the global economic meltdown.

“We are starting to see some signs of optimism on the horizon. But we cannot rebuild on the old foundations. This recession has changed global business. To remain competitive, air cargo must improve its quality and reduce its costs,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO in a message to 750 industry experts attending the annual IATA World Cargo Symposium, held last month in Vancouver.

It is vital to drive efficiencies and improve competitiveness by supporting IATA’s e-freight initiative, renewing a focus on its Cargo 2000 quality initiative and supporting its Secure Freight programme, urged Bisignani.

The global recession continues to challenge the global air cargo industry, he added noting cargo revenues were down by one quarter in 2009 compared to the previous year—the most precipitous drop ever.

The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, however, saw a strong upturn in cargo volumes to a level 28 per cent higher than the low point seen in late 2008, according to IATA figures. But these numbers, while providing much needed relief for the air cargo industry, are still three to four per cent below the early 2008 peak level. There are however new signs of yield increases on specific routes and regions, with Asian markets continuing their strong recovery.