Global airfreight stabilises; region dips slightly

IATA results show worldwide freight slightly up on February figures.
IATA's Giovanni Bisignani says airlines are failing to adjust capacity to match demand.
IATA's Giovanni Bisignani says airlines are failing to adjust capacity to match demand.

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IATA’s March traffic results brought little relief to the embattled aviation sector, although freight demand appears to have stabilised, with worldwide figures down by 21.4% in comparison to the same month last year, a small rise from February’s -22.1% showing.

Although still by some measure the best-performing region in terms of freight demand, Middle East figures slipped from -4.8% in February to -7.6% in March, a see-sawing effect that may be a result of manufacturers correcting large inventory overhangs that emerged in late 2008.
 
Elsewhere, the massive Asia-Pacific market saw a drop of 24.1% (against -24.7% last month), while Europe saw growth at -20% (a marginal improvement on the -23.1% February figure.

North America was down by -23.3% (-21.8% in February), with little to suggest that the region can break its relentless downward trend any time soon. Latin America saw a drop of 18% (-22.8% in February) and Africa sank by 29.4% (from -30.7% last month).

On the passenger side, the Middle East again performed well, rising by 4.7% in March (up from 0.4% in February), while global passenger demand dropped to -11.1%, worse than February’s 10.1% figure.
 
“Airlines cannot adjust capacity to match demand. Load factors have dipped sharply from last year. All of this is hitting revenues hard,” said Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of IATA.

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