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Passenger Growth, Cargo Decline

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Latin America is among the global winners in passenger traffic growth, but among the losers when it comes to cargo traffic.

BY CHRONICLE STAFF

Airline passenger traffic in Latin America grew by 3.3 percent last month, the second-best result worldwide, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) today.

However, cargo traffic in Latin America fell by 15.7 percent - the second-worst result worldwide after Asia-Pacific.

Geneva-based IATA is an international trade body that represents some 230 airlines comprising 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic. The passenger traffic figures are measured as passenger per kilometer (RPK), while cargo is measured through freight tons kilometers (FTK).

PASSENGER

The passenger growth in Latin America marks a stark contrast to a global fall of 4.6 percent and declines elsewhere - by 9.7 percent in Asia-Pacific, by 4.8 percent in North America (including Mexico), by 3.4 percent in Europe and by 1.6 percent in Africa. However, the Middle East grew by 5.6 percent in passenger traffic.

The November figures do mark a slowdown compared to previous months. In October, for example, Latin America passenger traffic grew by 4.5 percent (the best worldwide).

Year to date, Latin America leads the way in growth - 11.2 percent compared to the first 11 months last year.  That's five times higher than the global average. Other growth regions include the Middle East (up 7.1 percent), North America (3.6 percent) and Europe (up 2.2 percent).  Africa and Asia-Pacific, on the other hand, saw declines of 3.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Last year, Latin American passenger traffic grew by 8.4 percent - the second-best performance worldwide after the Middle East, IATA data shows.

CARGO

When it came to cargo traffic, Latin America suffered a decline along with all other world regions except Africa. Its decline was worse than areas like North America, Europe and the Middle East, but only slightly better than the Asia-Pacific region, which saw a 16.9 percent fall last month.

The November figures come after Latin America cargo traffic in October also fell - by 11.4 percent. They have been falling every month this year except for January, when they grew by 3.9 percent. However, last year, total cargo also fell - by 5.4 percent compared to 2006.

During the first 11 months of the year, Latin America cargo traffic fell by 12.5 percent, which was the worst performance worldwide. All other regions except the Middle East also saw declines, leading to a global average fall of 2.2 percent, according to the new data from IATA.

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