Global air cargo demand continues to outperform pre-Covid levels (April 2019) with demand up 12 per cent, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.
Global demand measured in cargo tonne-kilometres was up 12 per cent compared to April 2019 and 7.8 per cent compared to March 2021. Seasonally adjusted demand is now 5 per cent higher than the pre-crisis August 2018 peak.
The strong performance was led by North American carriers contributing 7.5 percentage points to the 12 per cent growth rate in April. Airlines in all other regions except for Latin America also supported the growth.
Capacity remains 9.7 per cent below pre-Covid-19 levels (April 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Airlines continue to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly capacity.
International capacity from dedicated freighters rose 26.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019 while belly-cargo capacity dropped by 38.5 per cent.
Underlying economic conditions and favourable supply chain dynamics remain supportive for air cargo. Global trade rose 4.2 per cent in March.
Competitiveness against sea shipping has improved. Air cargo rates have stabilised since reaching a peak in April 2020 while shipping container rates have remain relatively high in comparison.