Demand for air cargo fell 13.5% in July

Global demand for air cargo, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs), fell 13.5% in July (-15.5% for international operations) compared to the previous year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported.

This is a modest improvement over the 16.6% year-on-year drop recorded in June. Seasonally adjusted demand grew 2.6% month-on-month in July.

“While there is some improvement month-over-month, demand is at a slower pace than some traditional leading indicators suggested. This is due to the capacity limitation due to the loss of space available for cargo in the belly, while the passenger planes remain parked, ”said IATA.

Global capacity, measured in tons-kilometers of available cargo (ACTK), decreased 31.2% in July (32.9% for international operations) compared to the previous year.

This is a small improvement from the 33.4% YoY drop in June.

At the same time, the belly capacity for international air cargo contracted by 70.5% in July compared to the previous year, due to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was partially offset by a 28.8% increase in capacity through increased use of cargo aircraft.

Air cargo

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 3.5 points from June and rose 19.8 points from April
  • The PMI tracking global manufacturing output was back above 50, consistent with month-over-month production growth.

International CTK growth

“Economic indicators are improving, but we have not yet seen that fully reflected in the increase in air cargo shipments. That said, air cargo is much stronger than the passenger business side.

“And one of our biggest challenges continues to be meeting demand with very low capacity. If borders remain closed, travel is reduced and passenger fleets are grounded, the ability of air cargo to keep the global economy moving will be challenged,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA CEO.


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