January Air Cargo Demand Recovers to pre-COVID Levels
Middle Eastern air cargo carriers posted a 6% rise in international cargo volumes in January versus January 2019 according to January figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
This was an acceleration over the 2.4% year over year gain recorded in December compared to December 2019.
Of the region’s key international routes, Middle East-Asia and Middle East-North America have provided the most significant support.
January capacity was down 17.3% compared to the same month in 2019. This was a slight reduction compared to the18.2% decline recorded in December 2020 compared to the year-ago period.
Global demand was up 1.1.% compared to January 2019 and up 3% compared to December 2020. All regions saw month-on-month improvement in air cargo demand.
The global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 53.5 in January. Results above 50 indicate manufacturing growth versus the prior month.
The new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI – a leading indicator of air cargo demand– continued to point to further improvement.
The level of inventories remains relatively low compared to sales volumes. Historically, this has meant that businesses had to quickly refill their stocks, for which they also used air cargo services.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO said: “Air cargo traffic is back to pre-crisis levels and that is some much-needed good news for the global economy.
"But while there is a strong demand to ship goods, our ability is capped by the shortage of belly capacity normally provided by passenger aircraft.
"That should be a sign to governments that they need to share their plans for restart so that the industry has clarity in terms of how soon more capacity can be brought online. In normal times, a third of world trade by value moves by air.
"This high value commerce is vital to helping restore COVID damaged economies—not to mention the critical role air cargo is playing in distributing lifesaving vaccines that must continue for the foreseeable future.”