September 30, 2008 / 9:53 AM / 9 years ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-International air freight traffic shrinks in Aug

(Fixes typographical error in ‘shrinks’ in headline) (Adds background, details)

GENEVA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - International air freight traffic shrank in August, according to new figures on Tuesday suggesting that world trade is slowing down.

International air cargo shipments fell 2.7 percent in August while international air passenger traffic rose a disappointing 1.3 percent, airline industry body IATA said in a statement issued in Hanoi and published on its website.

Cross-border air shipments, which IATA measures in freight tonne kilometres, are considered a prime indicator of the health of world trade.

Air freight has declined for the past three months, led by the Asian Pacific region which comprises 45 percent of the global air cargo market, according to the Geneva-based International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“Airlines carry 35 percent by value of the goods trade internationally. The three-month decline — led by weakness in Asia-Pacific markets — is a clear indication that global trade is slowing down,” IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said.

“This shows that the impact of the financial crisis is broad geographically and will worsen before it gets better,” he said.

Global airlines are still heading for $5.2 billion losses this year, IATA said, confirming its estimate of Sept. 3. Fuel prices remain 30 percent higher than a year ago, it added.

“The industry crisis is deepening and no region is immune,” said Bisignani, a former chief executive of ailing Italian airline Alitalia.

IATA represents 230 airlines operating 93 percent of all international traffic. Domestic flights are excluded from its data. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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