Asia leads air freight rebound

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The Independent Online

Air cargo volumes rebounded strongly in the first quarter of the year, despite the closure of European airspace for six consecutive days in April because of volcanic ash, the International Air Transport Association said yesterday.

The data will be welcomed since air freight is a leading indicator of economic health. Before the interruption, freight volumes grew at an annualised rate of 26 per cent in the first three months of 2010.

But while yields also showed improvements, boosting revenues by between 30 and 40 per cent, the falls in early 2009 were so severe that cargo revenues are still around 5 per cent below pre-recession levels.

Moreover, the bulk of the market growth is from Asia. Even the 30 per cent-plus rise in freight volumes in Europe is belied by more detailed figures suggestion most the growth is coming from Asia to Europe.