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Global Air Cargo Demand Stable, Capacity Remains Constrained: IATA
Global demand measured in cargo tonne kilometres fell by 13.5 per cent in July (minus 15.5 per cent for international operations) compared to the previous year.
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets in July showing air cargo demand is stable but at lower levels than 2019.
While there is some month-to-month improvement, it is at a slower pace than some of the traditional leading indicators would suggest. This is due to the capacity constraint from the loss of available belly cargo space as passenger aircraft remain parked.
Global demand measured in cargo tonne kilometres fell by 13.5 per cent in July (minus 15.5 per cent for international operations) compared to the previous year. That is a modest improvement from the 16.6 per cent year-on-year drop recorded in June. Seasonally-adjusted demand grew by 2.6 per cent month-on-month in July.
Global capacity measured in available cargo tonne kilometres shrank by 31.2 per cent in July (32.9 per cent for international operations) compared to the previous year. This is a small improvement from the 33.4 per cent year-on-year drop in June.
Belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 70.5 per cent in July compared to the previous year owing to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This was partially offset by a 28.8 per cent increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft.
Economic activity continued to recover in July reflected in the performance of the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), an indicator of economic health in the manufacturing sector. The new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI rose by 3.5 points compared to June and was up 19.8 points since April.
The PMI tracking global manufacturing output returned to above 50, consistent with month-on-month growth in output.
Asia Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo fall by 15.3 per cent in July compared to the same period a year earlier. After a robust initial recovery in May, month-on-month growth seasonally-adjusted demand has softened. International capacity decreased by 32 per cent.
"Economic indicators are improving but we have not yet seen that fully reflected in growing air cargo shipments. Air cargo is much stronger than the passenger side of the business. And one of our biggest challenges remains accommodating demand with severely reduced capacity," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
"If borders remain closed, travel curtailed and passenger fleets grounded, the ability of air cargo to keep the global economy moving will be challenged," he said.
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