Photo – Disclosure / BH Airport
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) published the results of the global air freight markets in September. This shows that the demand for air freight, although stronger, remains low compared to 2019.
• Global demand, measured in tons of freight per kilometer (CTKs *), fell by 8% in September 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year (-9.9% in international business). This result represents a slight improvement on the 12.1% decline recorded in August. Demand rose 3.7% in September compared to the previous month.
• Global capacity, measured in tons of available freight per kilometer (ACTK), fell by 25.2% in September compared to the previous year (-28% in international business). This is almost three times as much as the fall in demand. Indication of a serious lack of capacity on the market.
• Strong regional variations were observed, with North American and African airlines seeing year-on-year increases in demand (+ 1.5% and + 9.7%, respectively) while the other regions continued to post negative year-over-year results.
• The performance trend is in line with the improvements in the main economic indicators.
o PMI’s new export order component rose and passed the 50 mark, indicating growth for the first time since mid-2018.
o The World Trade Organization has revised its forecast for trade growth for 2020 from -12.9% to -9.2%.
“The volume of air freight has decreased compared to 2019, but this is a world different from the extreme difficulties of passenger transport. In air freight transport, 92% of companies are in operation, while around 90% of international passenger traffic has disappeared. Favorable indicators for the high season at the end of the year will support the continued recovery in demand. North American and African operators are already reporting an increase in demand compared to 2019. However, capacity remains the biggest challenge. As airlines adjust their flight schedules due to the falling passenger demand due to the new wave of COVID-19, valuable cargo transportation capacity is lost in passenger aircraft when it is needed most, ”said Alexandre de Juniac, General Manager and IATA CEO.
September performance by region
The airlines in the Asia-Pacific region saw demand for international cargo decrease by 14.6% in September 2020 compared to the same month last year, a better result than in August 2020 by 16.4%. The demands on the Asia-North America and Asia-Africa routes were the greatest. International capacity in the region remained limited by 32% despite the capacity increase on several routes.
North American airlines returned to pre-crisis levels, with international demand up 1.5% year over year – their first month of growth in 10 months. This strong performance was sustained by the Asia-North America routes, reflecting the high demand from e-commerce for products made in Asia. The region’s domestic market also developed robustly. International capacity decreased by 19.7%.
The European airlines recorded a decrease in demand of 15.7% compared to the same period last year. The development was small but steady given the recovery in economic activity and the increase in exports. However, all major routes continue to decline. International capacity decreased by 32.8%.
Air carriers in the Middle East saw their international cargo volume decrease by 2.5% in September 2020 compared to September 2019, a significant improvement from the 6.7% decrease in August. The region was one of the hardest hit regions by COVID-19. When regional airlines aggressively increased capacity after the height of the crisis, the region saw a marked V recovery. International capacity decreased by 23.5%.
Latin American airlines posted a 22.2% decrease from the same period last year. The region’s poor performance is due to the sharp slowdown in economic activity, including trade, rather than insufficient sustainability. International capacity decreased by 32.2%.
African airlines saw demand rise 9.7% from September last year. This was the fifth month in a row that international demand in the region grew the most. The investment flows on the Africa-Asia route continue to produce good results for the region. International capacity decreased by 24.9%.