December 15 - Looking back on 2011, Air Partner's Freight division said it had grown its industrial and commercial sector client base by 19 percent in the 12 months ending 31 July 2011.

The division also participated in some of the UK's most high profile freight and humanitarian aid work, including: Tunisia demonstrations and unrest; New Zealand earthquakes; Japan earthquake and tsunami; as well as the earthquake in Turkey.

Looking ahead to 2012, Clive Chalmers , UK manager of Air Partner Freight , commented: 
"Air cargo is a circa GBP40 billion business (approximately USD60 billion) - and chartering plays an important role within this; while this year has seen a slowdown in more established economies, emerging market work has held up relatively well, and we expect these geographies to be important drivers of business in 2012.

"Freight levels in 2011 have mirrored global economic and manufacturing data - for instance, we've not seen a 'peak season' for consumer goods prior to Christmas this year - reflecting a lack of global business confidence in the second half of 2011.

"With the global economic situation showing no sign of short term recovery, we don't anticipate any immediate improvement in aviation freight volumes in 2012. However, we are seeing strong levels of business in niche markets and believe demand in certain areas, such as peace keeping and humanitarian efforts, will remain strong.

"Air Partner has seen strong demand from the Oil and Gas sector for outsize bulk orders in 2011 and we anticipate this continuing into 2012. The high price of oil is driving exploration into more and more remote and difficult to reach locations. This makes moving equipment and supplies into such regions particularly challenging and increases the demand for private charters organised by companies with proven experience in the field.

"Overall, it is a tough outlook for the freight world next year, but there are opportunities and niches that are benefitting from using charter brokers and providing significant levels of business to the industry."