While international cargo demand contracted 0.8 percent in December from a year ago, traffic was up 1.5 percent from November, the airline body reported.
“Cargo has now shown sequential month-over-month growth in November and December, adding evidence to the view that international trade may be stabilizing,” according to IATA’s latest monthly report.
The upturn, ending a slump that lasted through the summer and fall, left global cargo traffic in 2011 down just 0.6 percent on 2010. Surveys are now showing business confidence, a leading indicator of changes in cargo markets, turned up in December, suggesting industrial production may be stabilizing, IATA said.
However, the situation for airlines has deteriorated “significantly” as cargo demand continues to lag capacity — by 4.1 percent in December — and is putting further pressure on load factors.
The international cargo load factor shrunk to 45.9 percent in 2011 from 48.1 percent in 2010 as cuts in freighter capacity were more than offset by the introduction of twin asile passenger aircraft that are carrying freight in their “belly” holds.
“Improving business confidence and encouraging news for the U.S. economy are heartening developments. But it is too early to start predicting a soft landing for 2012,” said IATA Chief Executive Tony Tyler.
“The eurozone crisis is far from over. Failure to achieve a durable solution will have dire consequences for economies around the world. And it will most certainly tip the airline industry into the red.”
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