The international airfreight industry continued its sluggish ways in September, according to data released Friday by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The trade association, which represents most of the world's airlines, reported a 0.6-percent decline in airfreight volumes over August and only a 0.6-percent increase year-over-year.
The decline in volume from August to September is more indicative of the current state of the airfreight market than are the year-over-year figures, IATA said. The drop offsets the small gains reported for August. It also shows that the volume stability evident earlier in the year has eroded away as cautious business have cut back on premium-priced shipping services like air freight due to a range of economic and political concerns.
One bright spot could be high-tech, which relies heavily on air feight. The Sept. 21 rollout of Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5 could boost fourth-quarter volumes, as could other high-tech products hitting the market for the holidays, IATA said.
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region, the source of most of the global air cargo industry's future growth, reported a 1.6-percent decline in traffic over September 2011, IATA said. While that was an improvement over the 5.3-percent year-over-year drop in August, it still shows little progress from year-ago levels.
North American airlines reported a 1.1-percent year-over-year drop in traffic, while European carriers posted a 0.4-percent decline. Asian and North American airlines reduced their cargo-carrying capacity year-over-year, though European airlines increased their capacity, on average, by 1.2 percent.
Latin American airlines, possibly expecting a rise in demand to support booming growth in several of the region's economies, increased cargo capacity by 9 percent year-over-year. However, traffic in September fell by 1.6 percent, IATA said.
Across all regions, which also include the Middle East and Africa, cargo capacity and demand were essentially balanced year-over-year, IATA said.