African airlines saw cargo demand increase by 2.8% year-on-year in October, which was lower than the 12.1% growth in September. Despite this, the continent still posted the strongest increase in international demand. However, International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures showed a slight weakening in performance attributed to a slowdown in the Asia-Africa market where demand decelerated by 19 percentage points year-on-year as international capacity decreased by 20.8%.
IATA recently released October data for global air freight markets showing that air cargo demand continued to improve but at a slower pace than the previous month and remains below previous year levels.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), was 6.2% below previous-year levels in October (-7.5% for international operations). That is an improvement from the 7.8% year-on-year drop recorded in September but the pace of recovery in October was slower than in September with month-on-month demand growing 4.1% (1.1% for international).
Meanwhile, global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), shrank by 22.6% in October (24.8% for international operations) compared to the previous year. That is nearly four times larger than the contraction in demand, indicating the continuing and severe capacity crunch.
Strong regional variations continued with North American and African carriers reporting year-on-year gains in demand (+6.2% and +2.2% respectively), while all other regions remained in negative territory compared to a year earlier.
“Demand for air cargo is coming back—a trend we see continuing into the fourth quarter. The biggest problem for air cargo is the lack of capacity as much of the passenger fleet remains grounded. The end of the year is always peak season for air cargo. That will likely be exaggerated with shoppers relying on e-commerce—80% of which is delivered by air. So, the capacity crunch from the grounded aircraft will hit particularly hard in the closing months of 2020. And the situation will become even more critical as we search for capacity for the impending vaccine deliveries,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.