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Traffic figures for November 2012, released
by the International Air Transport Association
(IATA) in January, showed strengthening
demand on both the passenger and cargo
sides of the business, reinforcing industry hopes of
a return to growth in 2013.
Travel demand rose 4.6 percent compared with
November 2011, accelerating from the October
growth rate of 2.9 percent. Air freight volumes gained
1.6 percent over the same period, after falling 2.6
percent in October, year-on-year. Passenger capacity
rose 3.2 percent, while load factors improved one
percentage point to 77.3 percent compared to the
"November brought some positive signs for air
transport demand -- particularly for air cargo,"
says Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and CEO.
"It is premature to consider this a turning point for
air-cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and
regaining lost ground. But, when coupled with
positive economic developments in the US and
an improvement in business confidence in recent
months, the conditions are aligning to see a return
to growth in 2013. In 2013 we expect that cargo
volumes will grow 1.4 percent, and passenger traffic
will increase by 4.5 percent worldwide."
"Passenger markets have held up better than cargo
in the face of adverse economic conditions," Tyler
says. "But the current level of air travel is just 2 percent
higher than at the start of 2012. This is considerably
weaker than the long-term average growth rate."
Compared with October, November passenger
traffic grew 0.6 percent, with most of the growth
coming from domestic markets, particularly China.
November air freight volumes increased 2.4 percent
from October, reflecting a shift in seasonal shopping
to online retailers, which depend heavily on air cargo.
The increase also shows improved consumer
confidence in the US. Seasonally-adjusted air freight
volumes have now risen back to mid-2012 levels,
after declining in the third quarter.
International passenger demand in November grew
5.6 percent compared with the same month a year
earlier. However, the month-on-month increase was
only 0.2 percent, indicating that year-on-year growth
was more likely owing to depressed demand a year
ago. Nevertheless, emerging markets especially
continued to perform well, and capacity increased
3.1 percent year-on-year. Average load factor rose
1.8 percentage points to 76.3 percent.
Asia-Pacific airlines experienced the strongest
growth among the major regions, with demand up
6.2 percent year-on-year, on a capacity increase
of 2.5 percent. Some of this growth, however,
probably reflected depressed results in 2011 owing
to flooding in Thailand.
Load factor surged 2.6 percentage points to 75.7
On the cargo side, global markets rebounded
strongly in November, expanding by 1.6 percent
after a 2.6 percent year-on-year decline in October.
Although some of this increase reflects the impact
of the Thai floods a year earlier, the month-on-month
increase of 2.4 percent "is a positive sign", IATA says.
Asia-Pacific airlines were responsible for almost
half the gain in total volumes from October. The
2.4 percent month-on-month volume increase for
the region contrasted with a 1.5 percent drop in
November 2011. Freight capacity fell 2.8 percent
over the period.
Tra c gains in November -- particularly on the cargo side -- o er hope
for a rebound in demand this year, writes Andrzej Jeziorski.
Cargo demand rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in November, reversing a 2.6 percent drop the previous month.
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