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Air cargo declines as SWISS takes off

ZURICH: July 10, 2016. As SWISS begins service from Zurich to Paris CDG next week as the launch customer of Bombardier's cargo-friendly CS 100 Series aircraft, IATA reports from Geneva a 0.9 percent drop in airfreight for May compared to the same period last year.

Designed to replace the ageing RJ100 aircraft on intra-European routes with improved temperature control capabilities for pharma traffic, Swiss WorldCargo head Ashwin Bhat commented: "Compared to the RJ100, the CS100 [also] reduces carbon emissions effectively, a fact which is often demanded by our customers."

SWISS BombardierMeanwhile IATA said airfreight demand decreased or "flatlined" in May across all regions with the exception of Europe and the Middle East where volumes grew 4.5 percent and 3.2 percent respectively year-on-year as a result of an increase in export orders in Germany over the last few months.

In the Middle East, IATA said annual growth in May was one-fifth of the pace registered in the same month last year – reflecting both a reduction in network expansion by the region's main carriers over the past six months coupled with weak trading conditions.

Overall, the association cited weakness in world trade for 80 percent of air freight's sluggish performance: "Global trade has basically moved sideways since the end of 2014 taking air cargo with it," said outgoing IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler. "Hopes for a stronger 2016 are fading as economic and political uncertainty increases. Air cargo is vital to the global economy. But the business environment is extremely difficult and there are few signs of any immediate relief," he added.

Despite the poor industry outlook, Swiss WorldCargo said SWISS's new aircraft - of which it has 14 CS100s and 15 of the larger CS300 on order - will begin operating to Manchester, Prague, Budapest in July; Warsaw and Brussels in August; and Nice, Stuttgart, Hanover, Milan, Florence and Bucharest in September.

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