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Just move on–aviation industry lives in the shadow of its former glory

Just move on–aviation industry lives in the shadow of its former glory

IATA reminds us that although there's been some recovery in the aviation industry, it'll never get back the losses of the last two years. Thanks for the cheery note, IATA.

September 4, 2011 12:06 by

The summer months are always seasonal highs for the aviation industry. Most everyone travels during this for the summer break. And IATA (International Airport Transport Association) recently released monitoring figures for July 2011 which saw international air travel was up 7 percent this year so far—12 percent higher than the pre-recession peak in the first half of 2008.

This is encouraging news, of course. However IATA reminds us that if the industry didn’t take a hit during the economic crisis, this single-digit growth would have meant the figure would be about 14 percent higher than what it is today. Point taken. It’s good but not great news.

Thank you IATA for reminding us the two years of growth we’re never getting back.

“The recent fall in business and consumer confidence, the stagnation of international trade, and the still high level of the jet kerosene price, removes a lot of the positive support for air travel growth. We would expect to see air travel growth slowing in the next few months. Now that international trade has stopped growing a strong near term renewal in air freight growth seems unlikely,” according to the report.

The agency is not all about a depressing review though. They did say there is “encouraging recovery” in international air travel, what with a rebound in demand and a modest expansion among carriers—most of this comes from passenger travel rather than the freight markets as global trade came to all but a standstill.

“Operational efficiency is key to meeting current and future air traffic demands more so than ever before, with fuel prices remaining volatile and question marks hanging over the state of the global economy,” said Paolo Carmassi, President Honeywell Aerospace EMEAI, commenting on the IATA report.

“Solving the problem of rising demand, while simultaneously helping airlines to improve efficiency in light of higher operational and environmental costs, is a challenge that Honeywell is tackling head on with its range of Air Traffic Management (ATM) technologies. Honeywell is a key member of the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking, a 2.1 billion Euro EU initiative to modernise Europe’s aviation infrastructure. By 2020 SESAR is aiming to reduce average flight time by between eight and 14 minutes, cut 300 to 500 kg of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by at least 948 kg per flight.”

While Latin America lists as the strongest region, the Middle East shows a 9.7 percent increase in demand. Growth continues, in fact, for regional carriers reaching into new markets and expanding partnerships.

Just this June, for example, Etihad is finally allowed entry into Canadian air space. And regional airlines are also looking to the East, with Qatar Airways and Etihad looking to expand in China. There’s also Oman Air which has recently announced it is back in the game and ready to fly with a full schedule, following the end of its pilots going on strike.

Of course this means that regional carriers will have to play by the international rules—a memo that Emirates may have missed, resulting in a $100,000-fine over failing to compensate passengers for lost, damaged and delayed baggage.

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