September air freight experiences growth

IATA data demonstrates a rise in demand, but a struggle in capacity

Month-on-month global demand for air cargo in September increased 3.7% over August numbers, according to the most recent data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). However, demand, which is measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was actually 8% below September 2019’s numbers, but an amount that is still a step above the 12.1% year-on-year drop recorded in August.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, noted the industry struggles but approached it with a glass-half-full mentality, stating  that “Air cargo volumes are down on 2019, but they are a world apart from the extreme difficulties in the passenger business. For air cargo, 92% of the business is still there, whereas about 90% of international passenger traffic has disappeared. Favorable indicators for the peak year-end season will support the continued recovery in demand.”

The association’s CEO also referenced the ongoing challenge that capacity poses during the coronavirus pandemic, as carriers will need to modify schedules to mirror the decrease in demand.

The aforementioned global capacity, measured via available CTKs, shrank by 25.2% for the month of September and 28% for international operations, compared to 2019. That makes it almost three times greater than the contraction in demand.