Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a steep decline in passenger demand last month, in keeping with a global trend. This illustration of an empty concourse is going too far. But is not that far from the horrid truth if you are talking internationally.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this latest drop follows a reduction of 14.3% in May. Fears about Influenza A(H1N1) (swine flu) have also contributed to delaying any early revival in air transport.
Initial estimates suggest the impact of Influenza A(H1N1) took up to 4% off of growth rates for the region’s airlines in June.
Analysts did point out some encouraging news, however. While Asia-Pacific airlines reported a 15.8% drop in June, this is an improvement compared to last year’s year-to-date figure.
"This reflects improved economic conditions in a number of ’emerging’ Asian economies, such as China," said an IATA spokesmen. Note we are talking passengers here.
Now switch to cargo for a seriously gloomy picture. June marked the thirteenth consecutive month of contracting demand for international air cargo.
Despite reaching a bottom in December, improvement has been slowed by high inventory levels and soft demand. At the current pace, it will, according to IATA, probably take several years before demand returns to early 2008 levels.
Logistics Management reported Brandon Fried, executive director of the Air Forwarders Association in Washington, DC, as saying that members were expecting volumes to remain flat through the rest of the year.
"In a recent poll, 38% felt that conditions would improve in all trade lanes," he said. "The important thing, though, is that capacity is running loose, and there’s plenty of space out there for shippers when conditions improve." Difficult to see the logic for the optimism inherent in that remark.