Air Cargo demand grows 12 pc in April compared to pre-COVID levels

Geneva, Jun 8 (FN Agency) Global air cargo demand continued to outperform pre-COVID levels with demand up 12 pc in April, showed the data released on Tuesday by International Air Transport Association (IATA). “Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers was up 12 per cent compared to April 2019 and 7.8 per cent compared to March 2021. Seasonally adjusted demand is now five per cent higher than the pre-crisis August 2018 peak,” IATA said.

The association clarified that comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, comparisons have been made to April 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern. The strong performance was led by North American carriers contributing 7.5 percentage points to the 12 per cent growth rate in April. Airlines in all other regions except for Latin America also supported the growth.

“Air cargo continues to be the good news story for the air transport sector. Demand is up 12 per cent on pre-crisis levels and yields are solid. Some regions are outperforming the global trend, most notably carriers in North America, the Middle East and Africa. Strong air cargo performance, however, is not universal. The recovery for carriers in the Latin American region, for example, is stalled,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. The report also highlighted capacity constraint due to restrictions on passenger flights. Capacity remains 9.7 per cent below pre-COVID-19 levels (April 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Airlines continue to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly capacity, it said. International capacity from dedicated freighters rose 26.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, while belly-cargo capacity dropped by 38.5 per cent.