Economic Gloom Continues in January international air freight
scheduled traffic results for January showing a deepening year-on-year demand
month in 2008. It is also a full percentage point worse than the 4.6% year-on-year
drop recorded in December. The January fall in demand is the fifth consecutive
month of contraction.
load factor to 72.8% – 2.8% below what was recorded for January 2008.
2009 with a 23.2% year-on-year demand drop. This is the eighth consecutive month
of contraction for freight traffic.
drops in cargo. And, aside from the Middle East carriers, passenger demand is
falling in all regions. The industry is in a global crisis and we have not yet
seen the bottom," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Asian carriers led the decline in passenger demand with an 8.4% year-on-year drop in January.
While this is slightly better than the 9.7% contraction in December, this is positively
skewed by Chinese New Year which fell at the end of January 2009 (and which was
in February the year before). Capacity in the region contracted 4.3%. With Japan,
the region’s largest market for air travel, expected to see its economy contract
by an unprecedented 5% in 2009, the prospects for traffic in the region remain
North American carriers posted the second largest passenger decline at 6.2% led by a decline in Trans-Pacific
travel. In response, carriers withdrew 2.6% of their international capacity, clawing
back some of the expansion of 2008.
European carriers offset a 5.7% decline in demand with a 3.6% decrease in capacity. Demand decreased
sharply from the 2.7% fall in December as European economies move into deep recession.
Latin American carriers saw a modest decline of 1.4%. Even against a 0.5% increase in capacity, the
region turned in the highest load factors at 74.9%.
African carriers saw the demand decline slow from an average 4.0% in 2008 to 2.6% in January.
The Middle East was the only region with a positive traffic growth of 3.1%. This is far below
both the double-digit traffic growth in 2008 and the 10.8% expansion in capacity.
Asia Pacific carriers, representing 43% of the market, led the cargo decline with a 28.1% year-on-year
drop. This was followed closely by the other major market players: European carriers (-23.0%) and North American carriers (-19.3%).
While this may appear to be relatively stabilised compared to the precipitous
December drop, it is too soon to call a bottom in the air freight market. Manufacturers
are still shedding inventory and cutting production which is expected to lead
to further falls in freight volumes.
But the drop in demand is much more harmful. The industry is shrinking with revenues
expected to fall by US$35 billion to US$500 billion, delivering a loss of US$2.5
billion this year," said Bisignani.
our demands on Governments are much more modest. First, don’t tax us to death
in order to pay for investments in the banking industry. This includes the UK
government’s plans to increase its multi-billion pound Air Passenger Duty and
the Dutch Government’s misguided departure tax," said Bisignani. In 2008, even
as governments delivered tax breaks to stimulate economic growth, the airline
industry took on an additional tax burden of US$6.9 billion.
for granted. With the world’s capital markets in disarray, archaic ownership restrictions
are an unnecessary burden that must be lifted. Today’s crisis highlights the need
to change the structure of this hyper-fragmented and fragile industry," said Bisignani,
referring to IATA’s Agenda for Freedom initiative.
|IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising
93% of scheduled international air traffic.
Explanation of measurement terms: RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometres measures actual passenger traffic ASK: Available Seat Kilometres measures available passenger capacity PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used. In comparison of 2007 to 2006,
PLF indicates point differential between the periods compared
FTK: Freight Tonne Kilometres measures actual freight traffic ATK: Available Tonne Kilometres measures available total capacity (combined passenger
IATA statistics cover international scheduled air traffic; domestic traffic is
All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication
plus estimates for missing data.
International passenger traffic market shares by region in terms of RPK are:
Europe 32%, Asia Pacific 32.6%, North America 17.5%, Middle East 10.9%, Latin
America 5.1%, Africa 2.0%
International freight traffic market shares by region in terms of FTK are: Asia
Pacific 43%, Europe 26.3%, North America 17.4%, Middle East 10.1%, Latin America
2.3%, Africa 0.9%