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Luisa Cheshire

BY LUISA CHESHIRE

Air cargo capacity shrinks

Air cargo capacity shrinks as carriers cut flights as second wave hits passenger demand

Air cargo capacity shrinks

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released September data for global air freight markets showing that air cargo demand, while strengthening, remains depressed compared to 2019 levels.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was 8 per cent below previous-year levels in September (-9.9 per cent for international operations). That is an improvement from the 12.1 per cent year-on-year drop recorded in August. Month-on-month demand grew by 3.7 per cent in September. 

Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 25.2 per cent in September ( 28 per cent for international operations) compared to the previous year. That is nearly three times larger than the contraction in demand, indicating a severe lack of capacity in the market.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “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 per cent of the business is still there, whereas about 90 per cent of international passenger traffic has disappeared.

"Favourable indicators for the peak year-end season will support the continued recovery in demand. Already North American and African carriers are reporting demand gains on 2019. The challenge continues to be on capacity. As carriers adjust schedules to reflect falling passenger demand amid the resurgence of Covid-19, valuable belly capacity will be lost when it is needed the most."

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