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A Strong Rebound

From a 20% cliff drop during the recession to highs of more than 30% growth in 2010, air freight has redefined the notion of aviation highs and lows.

During the five-year forecast, growth is expected to return to more normal levels. That could be a relatively conservative estimate, however, given the anticipation of strong world trade figures. It may be that the industry is concerned about being overly optimistic given recent conditions. But it may also reflect a small loss of trade to other transport modes once business inventories have been restocked.

Unsurprisingly, routes connecting Asia with the United States and Europe will drive freight figures higher. The challenge will be managing the difference in trade volumes, with far more coming out of Asia than entering it. Estimates suggest a disparity of 1.6 million tonnes by 2014.

Changes in production and consumption patterns will take time, leaving cargo carriers with a short-term headache. Robert van de Weg, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Cargolux Airlines, accepts there will be significant variations in annual growth and between regions. He believes that cargo carriers will cope, however. “It is all about the ability to anticipate or at least to react quickly to network patterns,” he says. “And there will be consuming markets in the Asian/Middle East areas.”

Industry improvements, such as e-freight, will also pay off over the longer term, according to van de Weg

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