Geneva [Switzerland], December 7 (ANI): Global air cargo demand continued to improve but at a slower pace than the previous month and remains below previous year levels, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday while releasing October data for freight markets.
Global demand measured in cargo tonne kilometres was 6.2 per cent below previous year levels in October (minus 7.5 per cent for international operations). That is an improvement from the 7.8 per cent year-on-year drop recorded in September.
However, the pace of recovery in October was slower than in September with month-on-month demand growing 4.1 per cent (1.1 per cent for international).
Global capacity measured in available cargo tonne kilometres shrank by 22.6 per cent in October (24.8 per cent for international operations) compared to the previous year. That is nearly four times larger than the contraction in demand, indicating the continuing and severe capacity crunch.
Strong regional variations continue with North American and African carriers reporting year-on-year gains in demand (plus 6.2 per cent and plus 2.2 per cent respectively) while all other regions remained in negative territory compared to a year earlier.
Asia Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo fall 11.6 per cent in October compared to the same month a year earlier. This was an improvement from the 14.6 per cent fall in September and the second consecutive month of improvement.
International capacity remained constrained in the region, down 28.7 per cent. However, this was an improvement over the 31.8 per cent fall in capacity the previous month.
The region's airlines reported the highest international load factor, indicating a solid appetite for air cargo services.
"Demand for air cargo is coming back -- a trend we see continuing into the fourth quarter. The biggest problem for air cargo is the lack of capacity as much of the passenger fleet remains grounded," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
"The end of the year is always peak season for air cargo. That will likely be exaggerated with shoppers relying on e-commerce -- 80 per cent of which is delivered by air," he added.
So the capacity crunch from the grounded aircraft will hit particularly hard in the closing months of 2020. "And the situation will become even more critical as we search for capacity for the impending vaccine deliveries," said de Juniac.