A stabilisation of global inventory levels has helped stabilise air freight demand and halted the freefall according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as it warned that concerns over a swine flu pandemic could have a significant impact on air traffic. IATA’s latest statistics show that air cargo demand has “moved sideways” in the -21 to -24 per cent range since its plunge from -7.9 to -23.2 per cent between October last year and January 2009. Freight demand in March was relatively stable at -21.4 per cent compared to a year earlier. The severity of air freight slump is at least partly driven by manufacturers seeking to correct large inventory overhangs that emerged in late 2008, IATA said. “The recovery, however, depends on purchasing that can deplete the inventory overhang. Inventory levels remain high and final demand is weak,” it said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The only glimmer of hope is that cargo demand has stabilised this month although at the shockingly low level of -21.4 per cent,Ã¢â‚¬Â said IATA’s director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani. For the fourth consecutive month international cargo demand is hovering in the -21 to -24 per cent region as a result of the sharp drop in world trade. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬™s not the end of the recession, but we may have found the floor,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. But he added that “rising concerns over Swine Influenza could have a significant impact on traffic.” IATA is working in close cooperation with the World Health Organisation to ensure an efficient response of the air transport industry to the challenges that Swine Influenza will present, Bisignani said.
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