By Kevin Done in London
Published: January 30 2009 02:00
The airline industry yesterday reported an "unprecedented and shocking" plunge in global air cargo traffic.
The International Air Transport Association said traffic volumes fell 22.6 per cent year-on-year in December. Air freight accounts for 35 per cent of the value of goods traded internationally.
Giovanni Bisignani, Iata director-general, said: "There is no clearer description of the slowdown in world trade. Even in September 2001 [after the terror attacks in the US] when much of the global fleet was grounded, the decline was only 13.9 per cent. 2009 is shaping up to be one of the toughest years ever for international aviation. The 22.6 per cent drop in international cargo traffic in December puts us in uncharted territory and the bottom is nowhere in sight."