Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, IATA

World Cargo Symposium identifies China’s progress and air cargo priorities

Speaking in Shanghai at the start of the International Air Transport Association’s 9th World Cargo Symposium, the organisation’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler, emphasised that China is now a leading air cargo nation, accounting for 7% of global air freight.  IATA also anticipates that China will become the world’s largest air travel market around 2030.

Mr Tyler noted that volumes to, from and within China are set to increase by 4.9% a year to 2018.  This is ahead of the forecasted global average for this period, of 4.1%.  He also said that “…the growing Chinese middle class is driving demand for foreign goods, which will help create a more sustainable and balanced economy.  This will have beneficial effects for air cargo flows.”

Focusing on air cargo performance in general, Mr Tyler reported that it had strengthened in 2014, as global economic recovery had gathered pace after a few years of negligible growth.  He also confirmed that Global FTKs were also up by 4.5% after a slow start to the year.

Another important aspect of Mr Tyler’s speech was IATA’s call for further action on three vital aspects of the air cargo business: transitioning to paperless freight processes, a focus on global handling standards for pharmaceutical freight, and tough action to ensure the continued safe transportation of lithium batteries by air.

“Air cargo has had a challenging few years.  2014 saw the first significant boost in volumes since 2010, a trend we expect to continue this year.  Revenues, however, are still down from the 2011 peak, and yields are falling for the fourth straight year,” said Mr Tyler.

“I am a cargo optimist.  But business improvement will only come by constantly improving the value of cargo.  There is a long haul ahead to recapture lost revenues, nevertheless the prospects for the future are bright because the industry is really starting to act strategically and plan for the future.”