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The crunch hits the skies
The IATA has announced that cargo and passenger traffic is has fallen 13.5 percent and 4.6 percent respectively. Air traffic in the Middle East, however, is still rising.
December 30, 2008 12:52 by Dana El Baltaji
The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) has released its November 2008 figures which show a 4.6 percent drop in international passenger traffic and a 13.5 percent fall in international cargo. The international passenger load factors fell to 72.7 percent, a three percent drop from this time last year.
“The 13.5% drop in international cargo is shocking. As air cargo handles 35% of the value of goods traded internationally, it clearly shows the rapid fall in global trade and the broadening impact of the economic slowdown. By comparison, this is largest drop since 2001, in the aftermath of September 11,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO.
“The industry is now shrinking by all measures. The 1.0% capacity cut in international passenger markets in November could not keep pace with the 4.6% fall in passenger demand. We can expect deep losses in the fourth quarter,” said Bisignani.
In spite of the falls internationally, figures in the Middle East continue to rise: carriers in the region saw a 5.6 percent increase in air traffic in November 2008, up 2.1 percent from October 2008. However, the IATA notes that the region’s rise in air traffic is considerably less than the double digit increases seen before the financial crisis.
“With no end in sight for the worsening global economy, the 2008 gloom will carry over into the new year. Relief in the oil price has been outstripped by the falls in demand and capacity cuts are not keeping pace. The industry is back in intensive care. Improving efficiency everywhere will be theme for 2009,” said Bisignani.