Global air cargo demand slips 3.3 per cent in January

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 04, 2020


Global air cargo demand has seen a dip of 3.3 per cent in January 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) data. IATA’s chief has cautioned, “Tough times are ahead,” as the Coronavirus outbreak has “severely disrupted global supply chains.”

According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, January is the tenth consecutive month of y-o-y declines in cargo volumes, though coronavirus hasn’t impacted January’s performance, it is likely to impact the air cargo in the near future.

China’s has strong trade relations with several countries for both import and export. China has locked down several cities because of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to Juniac, “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, according to him,  it did not have a major impact on January’s cargo performance. IATA said 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. “Tough times are ahead,” said the IATA Director General, “The course of future events is unclear, but this is a sector that has proven its resilience time and again,” he added.

Cargo capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers (ACTKs), rose by 0.9 per cent year-on-year in January 2020. “Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 21 consecutive months,” said IATA in a press statement on Wednesday.

According to IATA, The 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 from COVID-19 is expected to affect February’s performance,” said IATA’s report.


Published on March 04, 2020

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