In seeking causes for the weak performance, Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of IATA, notes that, “The story for the first half of the year is cargo. Compared to 13.2% growth for the first half of 2004, the 3.4% freight growth for the same period in 2005 indicates that extraordinary fuel prices are softening international trade.” The Association points out that with 40% of the value of goods traded internationally moving as air freight, air cargo traffic is a leading economic indicator.
First half statistics indicate Latin America as the weakest sector, down 2.9%. Counter to popular perception, the two geographic areas showing strongest growth in air freight are the Middle East, up 12.9%, and Africa, climbing 10.9%. The Asia Pacific region was up 4.4% and Europe up 2.2%. North American air cargo showed a minimum increase, up just 0.01%, according to IATA.