Is the Russian market destined to become one of the bright spots in air cargo over the coming year or two? Certainly at a time when even such growth engines as China and India are showing signs of faltering, the 31.6 percent rise in air cargo traffic (measured in freight tonne kilometers) recorded by Russian official statistics in the five months to May looks enticing. Fueled by the high oil price, Russia's GDP also grew at 8.5 percent over the period.
Aeroflot, the Russian national carrier, quotes a prediction that Russia will see an average of 12 percent growth per annum over the coming years. That is certainly better than any other market in the Boeing world air cargo forecast.
Inevitably there is a catch, however. Though exports from Russia were up either 15 percent or 26 percent in the first half of 2008, depending on which figures you believe, that growth was from a very low base. Denis Ilyin, senior vice president strategy and commercial for AirBridge Cargo--Aeroflot's major private sector rival on the cargo side--says the imbalance between exports and imports is easily 1 to 10. So the flights may come in full, but they go out largely empty.
Source: Air Cargo World
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