Air cargo market probably hit bottom: IATA

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A decline in the air cargo freight market following the international financial crisis seems to have hit bottom, the head of the International Air Transport Association said on Sunday.

Giovanni Bisignani, director general and chief executive officer of IATA (International Air Transport Association) speaks during a news conference in Montreal, September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Air cargo, a key barometer of world trade, has slumped amid the global economic downturn and shortage of financing. Global air freight volumes in January saw a record 23 percent year-on-year dive.

“I would say, looking at the numbers, that it has hit bottom,” the global association’s Director-General Giovanni Bisignani told Reuters.

Bisignani said the market had at least been stabilizing at levels around 20 percent lower than a year ago.

“It’s not yet enough to say that the situation is picking up because this is also linked with the level of inventories of the manufacturers. So we have to wait at least another 3 or 4 months in order to see if we start moving.”

Bisignani was speaking on the sidelines of a business summit in Denmark on climate change ahead of a U.N. conference in December that aims to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Bisignani repeated an outlook made in March for airlines’ carbon emissions to drop 8 percent this year. Most of that drop, around 6 percent, was coming from airlines cutting the number of flights amid a drop in cargo and passenger demand.

The business meeting in Denmark will try to unite behind a call for long-term climate policies on oil, power and technology. Many firms want clearer carbon emissions rules to plan investments and capitalize on green technology.

Bisignani said the aviation industry wanted a global approach to fighting climate change. “We need a global scheme,” he said.

IATA said in a statement the global aviation industry would aim at improving fuel efficiency by 25 percent by 2020 compared with 2005, using 10 percent alternative fuels by 2017. It was targeting a 50 percent absolute reduction in emissions by 2050, it said.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Myra MacDonald