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Air cargo had worst ever year in 2020 – IATA

[ February 3, 2021   //   ]

Last year was the worst ever for air cargo demand since performance monitoring began, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its latest report. Demand decreased by 10.6% in 2020, compared to 2019, the largest drop in year-on-year demand since IATA started to monitor cargo performance in 1990, outpacing the 6% fall in global trade in goods.

 However, the market tightened as global capacity shrank even more, by 23.3%, and cargo load factors rose 7.7%, contributing to increased yields and revenues, providing support to airlines and some long-haul passenger services in the face of collapsed passenger revenues.

IATA director general and chief executive, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Air cargo is surviving the crisis in better shape than the passenger side of the business. For many airlines, 2020 saw air cargo become a vital source of revenues, despite weakened demand. But with much of the passenger fleet grounded, meeting demand without belly capacity continues to be an enormous challenge. And, as countries strengthen travel restrictions in the face of new coronavirus variants, it is difficult to see improvements in passenger demand or the capacity crunch –  2021 will be another tough year.”

CLIVE Data Services said however that exceptional global air cargo load factors in the last two weeks of January saw 2021 begin with an unusual New Year ‘peak season’ as demand and supply were closely matched, according to its latest analysis.

Its figures showed a load factor of 66%, up 9% year-on-year, adding that strong, and historically atypical, demand for the start of a new year indicates that air cargo’s slow road to recovery continues.

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