The downturn in the global air cargo market accelerated sharply in August with traffic shrinking 3.8 percent from a year ago, led by steep declines in North America and the Asia-Pacific region, the International Air Transport Association reported.
The contraction was more than double the pace of the 1.8 percent year-on-year decline in July, the airline group said, and came as carriers increased capacity 1.5 percent. The gap was widest on international routes, where traffic fell 3.5 percent against a 2.4 percent gain in freight capacity, a combination bringing down freight rates in international markets.
“The industry has shifted gears downward … and the freight business is shrinking at a faster pace,” said IATA CEO Tony Tyler.
“With business and consumer confidence continuing to slump globally there is not a lot of optimism for improved conditions any time soon.”
The decline was most marked in the largest cargo markets. Traffic in North America was down 7 percent from August 2010 while Asia-Pacific freight was off 5.4 percent. European traffic declined 1.8 percent from a year ago.
The emerging bucked the trend, led by a 5.4 percent increase in Latin America followed by gains of 3.7 percent in the Middle East and 2.2 percent in Africa.
Overall cargo utilization has shrunk four percentage points since the second quarter of 2010, IATA said in its latest monthly report.