L'IATA, l'Association internationale du transport aérien a publié son "AIR TRANSPORT MARKET ANALYSIS" pour le mois d'octobre 2011 et observe une poursuite du déclin du fret aérien.
Points clés :
Worldwide transport of freight by air fell in October, continuing the sharp decline that began in June. The level of freight tonne kilometres flown in October was 4.7% lower than the same month a year ago. It is clear in the first chart below that from several months before October last year until June this year the size of the air freight market was broadly unchanged. But since then the market has shrunk uninterrupted, by almost 5%.
Overall world trade in goods has also declined over the past five months, but by less than 1%. This is partly because Asian demand for bulk commodities, transported by sea, remains strong. But also because industrial output has yet to decline, whereas business confidence has slumped during the past two quarters. Air freight is often one of the earliest signals of deteriorating economic conditions. Purchasing managers are now cutting air freight and switching to cheaper and slower transport modes, in anticipation of weaker economic activity.
So far that deterioration in business confidence has not been fully reflected in air travel. Worldwide air travel did fall in October to a level 3.6% higher than the same month last year, compared to a 5.6% outturn in September.
However, this fall in the year-to-year comparison was partly due to a spike higher in travel last October. The 0.9% fall in worldwide RPKs flown between September and October is within the +/-2% standard deviation. Air travel is very volatile from month-to-month, so this decline cannot be seen as the start of a downward trend. At the moment, the trend in air travel remains upwards, in stark contrast to what we see happening to air freight. But as the second chart below indicates, a sharper slowdown in air travel is likely in the months ahead.
There are significant differences between regions. One of the strongest regions is Europe, despite the euro-zone crisis. This suggests that overall air travel strength is currently based on fragile foundations. North American airlines have cut capacity on US and international markets, keeping utilization high. Asia-Pacific airlines have seen weak international growth, although domestic markets in India and China are expanding fast.
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