The next two years will not be clear sailing for airlines despite an encouraging recovery in the freight market since last fall, according to David Hoppin, managing director of the transport and logistics analyst MergeGlobal. Speaking at the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) executive summit in Leipzig, Hoppin said he was "deeply concerned about the macro-economic picture in the U.S. and parts of the Eurozone."
Airfreight shrank by an unprecedented 26 percent in value terms in 2009, from $60.7bn to $44.9bn. By February 2010, volumes were still 9 percent below the peak of two years ago, Hoppin said. He blamed the "debt-fueled spending binge of recent years" for a high level of household debt, which was applying "the force of gravity on consumer spending." As government stimulus packages come to an end and industry completes its recent restocking phase, growth will now be more muted. Hoppin predicted it would take until the second half of 2011 before the airfreight industry returned to its pre-recession level.
TIACA secretary general Daniel Fernandez added this: "Despite positive evidence from the last few months, it is clear economic recovery remains patchy. The volcanic eruption in Iceland came at an unfortunate time, but brought home to the public in a vivid way the crucial role airfreight plays in keeping our shop shelves filled. We will continue to make governments and regulators aware of the importance of air in maintaining a reliable global supply chain."
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