The global air freight markets show slow progress due to capacity constraints. The data for the month of August released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that the global demand stands at 12.6 percent below the levels reported in August 2019. However, the demand has improved when compared to July 2020.
The global capacity was reduced by 29.4% in August compared to the previous year. Belly capacity for international air cargo was 67% below the levels of August 2019 owing to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The peak season for air cargo will start in the coming weeks, but with severe capacity constraints shippers may look to alternatives such as ocean and rail to keep the global economy moving,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
Meanwhile, economic activity showed signs of recovery. The new export orders component of the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose by 5.1% year-on-year, its best performance since late 2017.
Regional analysis of the international air cargo demand
When it comes to the demand for international air cargo, Asia-Pacific airlines witnessed a decline of 18.3 percent in August 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier. For the carriers in North America, the demand fell around four percent. August is the third consecutive month of reporting such single-digit decline.
European carriers reported a reduction in demand of 19.3 percent compared to the previous year. Middle Eastern carriers reported a decline of 6.8 percent in year-on-year international cargo volumes in August, a significant improvement from the 15.1 percent fall in July. This is primarily due to the regional airlines, which are adding capacity.
Latin American carriers reported demand steady at -26.1 percent compared to the previous year, ending three consecutive months of deteriorating demand. African airlines saw demand increase by one percent in August. This was the fourth successive month in which the region posted the most robust increase in international demand and only instance of year-on-year growth among all areas in global volumes.