Usually, when putting together the cargo traffic statistics section of the monthly print issue of Cargo Facts, it is easy to spot the basic trend. Perhaps most carriers and airports are reporting either increases. Or there may be a general pattern of decreases. Or perhaps the trend is regional, with Asia-North America strong while Asia-Europe is weak.
But as you will see when you receive the July issue of Cargo Facts (you do subscribe, right?) trends almost seem to be a thing of the past. Some carriers report strong loads, some are bleeding. Airports are generally reporting lower volumes, so perhaps that is a trend, but consider the oddity of Frankfurt reporting its June handle down 6.4% while its main client, Lufthansa Cargo, reports an increase of 4.2% in cargo traffic.
And don’t forget that some of the poor results are less poor than they seem, because the comparison month was unusually strong. For example, IATA’s data for May show international freight traffic down 4.3% y-o-y, but May 2010 was the single strongest month of the recovery, with international freight traffic up 34.4%, so what does the 4.3% decline this year really mean? June 2010, while not quite as strong as May, was still a month when most carriers and airports were reporting gains of 20% or more, so some of the less-than-stellar results this year are not as bad as they may at first seem.
Nor were all results bad. Carriers like Etihad and Turkish Airlines reported huge gains. Yes, they (and some of the other gainers) have increased their capacity, but that alone does not explain the traffic gains. No matter how much capacity a carrier offers, traffic will not increase unless shippers are actually shipping.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Anecdotal evidence from your corner of the industry. Something you overheard in a bar when a couple of cargo execs had a few too many drinks. Or even serious statistical research you think we may have missed. If you have an opinion on the current demand situation, post up.