International air traffic growth falls in August

September 30th, 2008 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) International airline passenger traffic growth fell in August to 1.3 percent from 1.9 percent in July, an industry forum said Tuesday.The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global organisation of air operators, said passenger load factors fell to 79.2 percent in August, a sharp drop from the 81 percent recorded during the same period last year.

Also, the international freight traffic growth saw its third consecutive month of contraction with a 2.7 percent decline, following drops of 1.9 percent in July and 0.8 percent in June this year.

“Passenger traffic grew by 5.4 percent in the first half of the year. That slowed to 1.9 percent in July and 1.3 percent in August. The contrast between the first half of the year and the last two months is stark,” IATA chief executive officer Giovanni Bisignani said.

“The slowdown has been so sudden that airlines can’t adjust capacity quickly enough. While the drop in the oil price is welcome relief on the cost side, fuel remains 30 percent higher than a year ago. And with traffic growth continuing to decline, the industry is still heading for a $5.2 billion loss this year,” he added.

In the air freight segment, Asia Pacific carriers posted a 6.5 percent decline in July and a 6.8 percent decline in August.

“Airlines carry 35 percent by value of the goods traded internationally. The three-month decline - led by weakness in Asia-Pacific markets - is a clear indication that global trade is slowing down. This shows that the impact of the financial crisis is severe and will worsen before it gets better,” Bisignani said.

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