Geneva [Switzerland], Mar 4 (ANI): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets on Wednesday showing that demand measured in cargo tonne kilometres decreased by 3.3 per cent in January compared to the same period in 2019.
"January marked the 10th consecutive month of year-on-year declines in cargo volumes," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
The air cargo industry started the year on a weak footing. There was optimism that an easing of US-China trade tensions will 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," he said in a statement.
Cargo capacity measured in available cargo tonne kilometres rose by 0.9 per cent year-on-year in January 2020. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 21 consecutive months.
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.
Latin America and Africa were the only regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to January 2019.
Asia Pacific airlines saw demand for air cargo contract by 5.9 per cent in January 2020 compared to the year-earlier period. This was the sharpest drop in freight demand of any region for the month. Capacity growth was flat.
Seasonally-adjusted cargo demand rose slightly however, following the thawing of US-China trade relations. The impact of Covid-19 is expected to affect February's performance.