Global air cargo demand in April was up 12% from its pre-crisis level, according to IATA, as the sector continues to offer a rare positive airline story during the Covid-19 crisis.
Measured in cargo tonne kilometres, the performance was led by North American carriers, which contributed 7.5 percentage points to the 12% growth rate in April. All other regions, apart from Latin America, supported the growth, IATA notes.
|IATA air cargo data: April 2021 versus April 2019|
|NOTES: Changes versus April 2019. CTK = cargo tonne kilometres, ACTK = available cargo tonne kilometres, CLFC = cargo load factor change versus April 2019, CLF = cargo load factor|
The improvements came amid helpful “underlying economic conditions” and “favourable supply chain dynamics”, the airline industry association explains.
The continued low level of long-haul passenger operations in particular – international belly-cargo capacity was down 38.5% during the month – meant freight capacity remained 9.7% below pre-Covid-19 levels in April.
IATA states that airlines are continuing to use dedicated freighters to “plug the lack of available belly capacity”, with international capacity from such aircraft rising 26.2% during the month.
“Air cargo continues to be the good news story for the air transport sector,” says IATA director general Willie Walsh.
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