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World Air Cargo Industry Belly Up With Demand Down Almost 28%

by GoNews Desk 11 months ago Views 1228

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While much attention in commercial aviation is on air travel, it’s the cargo and freight industry which has taken a body blow as well.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo fall by 28.1% in April 2020, compared to the same period a year earlier. However, the large Asia-North America market recorded less of a decline (7.3%) due to the rise in movement of personal protective equipment (PPE). But international capacity decreased 42.5%.


According to International Air Transport Association (IATA) data released for global air freight markets in April, demand dropped 27.7% compared to the same period in 2019 - the sharpest fall ever recorded. Still, there was insufficient capacity to meet demand as a result of the loss of belly cargo operations on passenger aircraft.

Belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 75% in April compared to the previous year. This was partially offset by a 15% increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft.

“There is a severe capacity crunch in air cargo. Demand fell by 27.7% compared to April 2019. But capacity was down 42% because of the sharp cuts in passenger operations which also carry cargo. The result is damaging global supply chains with longer shipping times and higher costs”, said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

According to Juniac, airlines are deploying as much capacity as possible, including special charter operations and the temporary use of passenger cabins for cargo. “Governments need to continue to ensure that vital supply lines remain open and efficient. While many have responded with speed and clarity to facilitate the movement of cargo, government red-tape—particularly in Africa and Latin America—is preventing the industry from flexibly deploying aircraft to meet the demands of the pandemic and the global economy”, the IATA chief said

Meanwhile, North American carriers reported a fall in international demand of 20.1% year-on-year in April. This was the smallest contraction of all regions

European carriers reported a 33.8% annual drop in international cargo volumes in April, much sharper than the outcome for March (-18.5%). However, the large Europe-Asia market recorded less of a decline due to the rise in movement of PPE. International capacity decreased 46.9%.

Middle Eastern carriers reported a decline of 36.2% year-on-year in April, significantly worse than 14.1% fall in March. Despite a number of carriers in the region maintaining some cargo capacity, traffic on all key routes was low. International capacity decreased 42.4%.

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