Vietnam and the US have agreed to the terms of an Open Skies agreement that will effectively eliminate restrictions on air cargo routes linking the two countries. The new pact will give air carriers from both countries the go-ahead to carry cargo to or from third countries.
The agreement was signed recently in Hanoi, where members of the Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Administration and the US Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs held meetings over the past several weeks at the US Embassy.
The new agreement is a ray of sunshine in a comparatively bleak environment for air freight moving through most US airports, specifi cally Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), two of the country’s busiest cargo operations.
Cargo traffic at LAX dove 16 per cent in August with industry analysts saying the development is a stark sign of a deepening slowdown in the transpacific air freight market heading into the critical peak shipping season.
The decline was the ninth straight year-over-year decline at the key Pacific shipping gateway and came as several Asian airlines said they were reducing the number of cargo connections to the US in response to tumbling demand.
San Francisco International Airport’s freight traffic fell an average 16.2 per cent overall in July, according to the most recent statistics released by the airport, with international shipments down 13.5 per cent and domestic tonnage dropping by 19 per cent during the month.
The latest statistics released by the Montreal-headquartered International Air Transportation Association (IATA) show that air freight traffic declined 2.7 per cent worldwide in August, while the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia reports a 6 per cent slide in August in addition to a corresponding 7.1 per cent drop in overall capacity among its 17 air carriers members.