3.3% dip in global demand for air freight in January: IATA

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Global air freight markets suffered a decline in demand, measured in freight tonne-kilometres, of 3.3 per cent in January 2020, compared with the same period in 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“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, Director General and CEO, IATA said in a statement.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne-kilometres, rose by 0.9 per cent year-on-year in January. This was the 21st consecutive month where capacity growth outstripped demand growth, IATA said.

Airlines in Asia Pacific and Europe suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air cargo volumes in January 2020, while North American and Middle East carriers experienced a more moderate decline.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ demand for air freight shrank by 5.9 per cent in January, compared to the year-earlier period. This was the sharpest drop recorded in freight demand of any region for the month. European airlines reported a contraction in freight demand of 1.3 per cent, while capacity increased by 2.8 per cent year-on-year, compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 3.4 per cent.

North American airlines saw demand decrease by 1.3 per cent in January 2020, compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 3.4 per cent.

Freight volumes for airlines in the Middle East contracted 1.4 per cent in January compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased by 2.9 per cent.

Latin America and Africa were the only two regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to January 2019.

Latin American airlines experienced an increase in freight demand of 1.4 per cent in January 2020 compared to January 2019– reversing the 2.5 per cent decrease in December. African carriers posted the fastest growth of any region for the 11th consecutive month in January 2020, with an increase in demand of 6.8 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.

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