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Jan.12, 2015

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122 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE JANUARY 12.2015 AIR CARGO 2015 ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK T he a ir ca rgo indust r y had it s longest peak season in years in 2014, driven by massive demand for new products, most notably the iPhone 6 that sold more than 40 million units in the third quarter alone. A strong rebound in trans-Pacifi c trade kept freighter and aircraft belly utilization high for much of the second half, ensuring a happy Christmas among cargo divisions that have struggled to match their strongly growing passenger counterparts for the past few years. Not all sectors were as healthy, especially Asia-Europe, but 2014 will be celebrated as a good year by an industry that hasn't seen many good ones since the global fi nancial crisis kicked over the punch bowl in 2008. But the big question that has airline executives frantically polishing their crys- tal balls is whether airlines and air freight forwarders can count on the strong perfor- mance continuing through this year. "I am cautiously optimistic that 2015 will start strongly with good loads up until Chi- nese New Year," James Woodrow, director of cargo for Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacifi c Airways, told The Journal of Commerce. "After that, my crystal ball goes a bit hazy." Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 19, and there is a traditional rush to get orders deliv- ered before factories close for two to three weeks. "Overall, I am expecting 2015 to be a better year for air freight than 2014 — a continuation of the recovery that we have seen," Woodrow said. "The trans-Pacifi c is currently strong and is likely to continue being so, which has a knock-on effect on intra-Asia. Asia-Europe routes are also see- ing an encouraging improvement in rates." Cathay Pacifi c has expanded its freighter network, adding North American destinations such as Calgary and increasing frequencies to Columbus, Ohio, and to Mexico, and adding a freighter to the Cambodian city of Phnom Penh on a Hong Kong-Singapore-Penang- Phnom Penh-Hong Kong routing. William Flynn, president, CEO and direc- tor of Atlas Air Worldwide, said his carrier was experiencing continuous demand across every market. "Coming into 2015, I think our sense is we're seeing growth for the fi rst time in really almost four years," he said in com- ments transcribed by B Y G R E G K N OW L E R FLIGHT OF FANCY Coming off one of their strongest years since the global recession, global air cargo carriers look to 2015 with cautious optimism

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