Air Freight: Trends and Issues
For many years the air freight sector has been a growing market worldwide. The total air freight volume more than tripled from 5.1 million metric tonnes in 1986 to 17.9 million tonnes in 2000 (Lufthansa, 1994, 2001). This development can be traced to the increased globalization of the economy, the growth in worldwide production and the resulting interconnection of delivery systems. ‘Worldwide’, however, mostly implies North America, Europe and Asia, with an increased flow of information, finance and trade currents between these continents. Figure 10.1 clearly depicts this trend based on the flow of goods between the continents from 1980 until 2005. Current studies project an increased annual growth of air freight volume by approximately 5.8 per cent (Airbus, 2008) and 6.2 per cent (Boeing, 2008) respectively until 2026. This means that the volume of air freight will triple within the next 20 years. Trade between the countries of the above triad can be expected to grow at rates of more than 8 per cent and the growth of air freight volume will also increase within Asia at above average rates (Airbus, 2008). It is expected that 26 per cent of the entire global air freight volume will be transported within Asia as early as 2011. Another 31 per cent of the air freight volume will be transported along the lines Asia/Pacific-Europe-Asia/Pacific and Asia/Pacific-North America-Asia/Pacific (Logistics Management, 2008).