Global airfreight demand on the up, despite rising fuel costs

IATA figures show that international airfreight demand has grown five per cent in September, down from six per cent in August, but well above the levels seen in the first half of 2007. Growth, year-to-date, has also improved to four per cent, according to Giovanni Bisignani, director-general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Driving global demand has been the Asia Pacific region, with growth rates of seven per cent. Demand in the Middle East rose to 8.2 per cent after registering a sharp fall in August (3.5 per cent). This however is well below the double-digit levels seen over the last two years in the region.

Downturn continued in Africa, with freight demand contracting by 10.4 per cent mainly due to a fall in demand in southern Africa.

"Traffic demand," Bisignani said "remains strong despite the financial instability seen in recent months," said Bisignani. "But it is still early days. Corporations - particularly the financial service sector - adjusting travel budgets could impact premium traffic.

"And fuel prices rising to new record levels will add more pressure on efficiency. So there can be no let-up in the imperative to keep costs down and planes full."