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Global air freight weakness continues as capacity outstrips demand - CAPA

13-Sep-2005

SYDNEY (XFNews) - Weakness in global air freight volumes is continuing as capacity outstrips demand and high fuel prices impact international trade, the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation reported.

The Sydney-based international aviation consultancy said Lufthansa is the latest global carrier to report further weakness in cargo traffic despite a strong passenger demand.

"It could be evidence of an easing in underlying economic conditions, which would be of concern to airlines and airports worldwide," CAPA said.

International air freight volumes are seen as a key forward indicator of global economic activity.

In August, Lufthansa Cargo transported 137,000 metric tons of freight and mail, down 3.5 pct year-on-year, as capacity grew faster than demand, putting further downward pressure on cargo load factors.

Lufthansa's cargo load factor was 60.4 pct in August against a year to date average of 64 pct.

On Sept 1, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported July year-on-year growth in international cargo traffic of 2.2 pct, much weaker than year-on-year passenger growth of 8.5 pct.

IATA's July data continues a trend of falling international freight volume growth, which over the first six months of the year was just 3.4 pct compared with international passenger growth for the first half of 8.8 pct.

The organization sees the freight volume data as indicating extraordinarily high fuel prices are softening international trade.

IATA represents 265 airlines comprising 94 pct of international scheduled air traffic.

CAPA said Asia's biggest freight carrier, Korean Air, reported an 8.8 pct slump in freight volume in July from the previous July.

Meanwhile, British Airways has reported a strike-affected 10.2 pct fall in freight volume in August, while United Airlines reported a 4.4 pct reduction in August from a year earlier.

US airline industry organizaton Air Transport Association (ATA) reported that air freight volumes of its member airlines fell 1.7 pct in July, as measured by revenue ton miles (RTM), limiting growth for the year to date to 0.8 pct.


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