Global Air Cargo Shows Slowing

“May cargo growth slipped into negative territory in Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe, following sluggish performance since the beginning of 2005,” observes Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Despite the May slowing, for the period from January through May, air cargo traffic was up 3.1%.

Geographic areas showing the greatest decline in May were Latin America (-6.6%), North America (-2.8%), Asia/Pacific (-2.7%) and Europe (-1.6%).

Two areas indicated stronger growth: Africa, up 8.8% and the Middle East, up 10.7%. For the year to date, Latin America (-2.3%) and North America (-0.3%) have been the only two regions with losses. “Our projection of a $6 billion (US) industry loss is looking optimistic and the need for continued cost reduction is critical,” continues Bisignani.

He sees that, “As a leading economic indicator, the slowdown in cargo traffic demonstrates that the high price of oil is slowing the global economy faster than expected.”

Earlier this year, in projecting world air cargo volumes from 2004 through 2008, IATA indicated the average annual growth rate to be 4.6% for Trans-Pacific, 7.0% for Europe – Asia/Pacific, 6.1% for Europe – Middle East, 5.6% for Europe – Africa, 6.1% within Asia/Pacific, 5.7% within Europe and 3.7% within Latin America/Caribbean.

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