IATA slashes Asia-Pacific air freight growth forecast

By Freddie Pierce
Slow markets around the world are beginning to have a major impact on the air freight industry. The effects have caused slow air freight volumes in the...

Slow markets around the world are beginning to have a major impact on the air freight industry.

The effects have caused slow air freight volumes in the Asia-Pacific region, which has cut growth projections in the industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently lowered their growth projection for the region in 2011 from 5.5 percent to 1.4 percent.

What’s also troubling is that air freight carriers are expected to transport 46.4 million tons of cargo in 2011, down from the 48.2 million tons IATA expected. Most industry experts don’t expect air freight to recover until the end of this year.

A recovery at the end of 2011 is expected, which indicates why the IATA is expecting worldwide air freight to grow by 4.2 percent in 2012.

Still, there are tough roads for the industry ahead.

“Airlines are competing in a very tough environment, and 2012 will be even more difficult,” IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said.

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Though air freight volumes are down, all hope is not lost. Latin America posted very strong freight numbers, and the region is projected to profit $600 million this year. That’s $500 million more than the IATA estimated in June.

Also, IATA increased its industry profit forecast from $4 billion to $6.9 billion.

“Airlines are going to make a little more money in 2011 than we thought,” Tyler said. “That is good news. Given the strong headwinds of high oil prices and economic uncertainty, remaining in the black is a great achievement, but we should keep the improvement in perspective.”

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