Global Air Freight Market Demand dips by 3.3% in Jan: IATA

The global air freight market demand, measured in cargo tonne kilometres (CTKs) saw a dip of 3.3% in January 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019 as revealed by The International Air Transport Association (IATA)

“January marked the tenth consecutive month of year-on-year declines in cargo volumes. The air cargo industry started the year on a weak footing. There was optimism that an easing of US-China trade tensions would give the sector a boost in 2020. But that has been overtaken by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has severely disrupted global supply chains, although it did not have a major impact on January’s cargo performance. Tough times are ahead. The course of future events is unclear, but this is a sector that has proven its resilience time and again.”

~Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO

Cargo capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), rose by 0.9% year-on-year in January 2020 and outstripped the demand growth for 21st consecutive month.  

According to the report released by IATA, the weak performance of the industry in the month of January is very unlikely to be the result of COVID-19.

Lunar New Year in 2020 was earlier than in 2019. This skewed 2020 numbers towards weakness as many Chinese manufacturers would be closed for the holiday period. February performance will give a better picture of how COVID-19 is impacting global air cargo, said the release.

Airlines in Asia-Pacific and Europe suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air cargo volumes in January 2020.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw the air cargo demand contract by 5.9% in the first month of the year, compared to the year-earlier period marking as the sharpest drop in freight demand of any region for the month.

The capacity growth in the region stood flat. Seasonally-adjusted cargo demand rose slightly, following the thawing of US-China trade relations. The impact of COVID-19 is expected to affect February’s performance.  

However, on the contrary, North American and Middle East carriers experienced a more moderate decline. While regions like Latin America and Africa were the only regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to January 2019.

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