Air Cargo Posts Strongest First Half-Year Growth Since 2017
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air cargo markets for June with Middle Eastern carriers posting a 17.1% rise in international cargo volumes in June 2021 versus June 2019, boosted by strong performances on the Middle East to Asia and Middle East to North America trade routes.
However, international capacity of Middle East carriers in June was down 9% compared to the same month in 2019, largely due to greatly reduced belly hold capacities.
Globally, air cargo showed a 9.9% improvement on pre-COVID-19 performance (June 2019). This pushed first half-year air cargo growth to 8%, its strongest first half performance since 2017 (when the global industry posted 10.2% year-on-year growth).
North American carriers posted the strongest increase of 23.4% in international demand in June 2021 compared to June 2019.
Meanwhile, the cost-competitiveness and reliability of air cargo relative to that of container shipping has improved.
The average price of air cargo relative to shipping has reduced considerably. And scheduling reliability of ocean carriers has dropped, in May it was around 40% compared to 70-80% prior to the crisis.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General said: “Air cargo is doing brisk business as the global economy continues its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
"With first-half demand 8% above pre-crisis levels, air cargo is a revenue lifeline for many airlines as they struggle with border closures that continue to devastate the international passenger business.
"Importantly, the strong first-half performance looks set to continue.”