October airline traffic statistics published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week showed substantial growth in virtually every region of the world, as global revenue passenger kilometers rose 6.6 percent compared with the same month a year earlier and 5.2 percent over September’s results. Even the cargo market resumed its fragile recovery in October, generating a 4-percent increase in freight ton kilometers.
June traffic figures released last week by the International Air Transport Association show strong growth in passenger demand and what IATA characterizes as “signs of life” in the air freight sector. Passenger traffic grew by 6.6 percent during the month compared with the same period a year earlier, while air freight volumes expanded by 1.2 percent.
Users of the Air Charter Guide will notice a complete redesign of the publication, starting with the June edition. The worldwide guide to charter operators now appears alphabetically by country, rather than regionally. Maps within each section have undergone a redesign and a complete worldwide index of operators will make the information much easier for subscribers to navigate. The two-column format throughout, once reserved for Metro sections, makes the directory more readable.
Air cargo traffic declined in the U.S. and internationally in 2012, but forecasts call for gradual improvement in the coming years.
In its latest 20-year aerospace forecast, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said U.S. air carriers flew 36.4 billion revenue ton miles (RTMs) last year, down 2.4 percent from the previous year. The European debt crisis and China’s slowing economic growth affected international cargo RTMs, which declined by 3.6 percent to 24.3 billion. Domestic cargo RTMs remained essentially flat, increasing by 0.1 percent to 12 billion.
The line has sharpened between airlines and labor groups over the FAA’s decision to exclude all-cargo operations from its new, stricter pilot flight duty rule, scheduled to take effect in January next year. Airlines for America (A4A), the trade organization representing major U.S. airlines, issued a statement on January 7 reaffirming its support of the duty rule as published and urging Congress to reject new legislation that would change the rule to include all-cargo carriers.
Traffic results for November 2012 released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Wednesday showed an improvement in both passenger and air freight demand. Air travel figures rose 4.6 percent for the month year-over-year, compared with October’s rise of just 2.9 percent. Meanwhile, air freight volumes edged up 1.6 percent in November after declining 2.6 percent in October, year to year.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation has postponed until next February a long-awaited decision on which foreign airline it will allow to start operating domestic and international services in the country’s highly restrictive air transport market, the agency confirmed last week. Confusingly, GACA spokesman Khalid Al-Khaibary told Arab News the Saudis will grant startup licenses to whatever airline wins within four to six months, even though authorities say they expect flights to begin in April.
Continued weakness in cargo markets and stubbornly high fuel prices have convinced FedEx to retire 18 Airbus A310-200s and 26 related engines permanently, along with six Boeing MD-10-10s and 17 associated engines, the company announced last Monday.
Asia Pacific-based airlines carried 190 million international passengers last year, a 3.5-percent increase from 2010, according to preliminary data released in late January by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). International passenger traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometers) climbed 3.7 percent, while capacity growth for the year edged up by 6.3 percent. Since capacity outstripped traffic demand, the average international passenger load factor fell two percentage points to 76.4 percent.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with leaders of the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) over coffee at the Mayflower hotel in downtown Washington. Based in Louisville, Ky., site of the UPS Worldport international air hub, the IPA represents 2,650 pilots who fly freight for Big Brown.