Slow growth in airfreight traffic


In contrast to passenger traffic, the airfreight business languished in 2011 (–0.7 per cent). Indeed, its performance deteriorated steadily over the course of the year. While growth of 9.1 per cent was reported in January, IATA published declining or stagnant sales figures for cargo traffic from May onwards.

Sales growth for the European carriers’ airfreight business was better than average with an increase of 1.3 per cent. The steepest drop was felt by the airlines in the Asia/Pacific region, largely due to the slowdown in the Chinese airfreight market and the effects of the earthquake in Japan. Sales here fell by 4.6 per cent, followed by African airlines (–1.8 per cent). Sales by North American airlines grew by 0.4 per cent. The strongest sales growth was achieved by Latin American airlines with 6.0 per cent and carriers from the Middle East, whose sales rose year-on-year by 8.1 per cent.

Sales performance 2011

in % compared with previous year

Revenue
passenger-kilometres

Cargo
tonne-kilometres

Source: IATA Carrier Tracker 12/11

Europe

9.1

1.3

North America

2.2

0.4

Central and South America

11.3

6.0

Asia/Pacific

5.4

–4.6

Middle East

8.6

8.1

Africa

0.5

–1.8

Industry

5.9

–0.7

Profitability down on the previous year

After several corrections, IATA adjusted its 2011 annual forecast for the airline industry to USD 6.9bn in December. This puts profits for the industry well below the previous year’s figure of USD 16.0bn. European airlines are expected to have made an earnings contribution of USD 1.0bn in 2011 (previous year: USD 1.9bn).