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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) anticipates that Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine and retaliatory airspace closures will have a negative effect on the air cargo industry.

The trade association expects the conflict’s global impact to be ‘low’, as Russia accounted for only 0.6% of the global cargo carried by air last year.

In addition, the association noted that some of these cargo carriers are registered in Russia and Ukraine, mainly those engaged in heavy lift operations.

IATA also released data for global air cargo markets for January, which reveals a slower growth.

Capacity challenges, disruptions in the supply chain and worsening economic conditions are said to be the driving factors for this slow-down.

IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Demand growth of 2.7% in January was below expectation, following the 9.3% recorded in December. This likely reflects a shift towards the more normal growth rate of 4.9% expected for this year.

“Looking ahead, however, we can expect cargo markets to be impacted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Sanction-related shifts in manufacturing and economic activity, rising oil prices and geopolitical uncertainty are converging.

“Capacity is expected to come under greater pressure and rates are likely to rise. To what extent, however, it is still too early to predict.”

Meanwhile, AINonline reported that IATA currently has no plans to expel 11 Russian airlines and Belavia, the flag carrier of Russia’s ally Belarus.

A spokesperson of the association told AINonline: “We are appalled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sympathise greatly with the human suffering that has resulted.

“Any discussion or decision on membership of Russian carriers in IATA, however, would have to consider the impact on IATA operations in Russia and the negative consequences for consumers worldwide.”