Middle East Carriers' Air Cargo Volumes Up 17.6% in September 2021

Middle East Carriers' Air Cargo Volumes Up 17.6% in September 2021

Cost-competitiveness of air cargo relative to that of container shipping continues to remain favorable

Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 17.6% rise in international cargo volumes measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) in September 2021 versus September 2019, an improvement compared to the previous month (14.7%), according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data released for air cargo markets.

International capacity in the Middle East was down 4% compared to September 2019.

Meanwhile, global demand, was up 9.1% compared to September 2019. Capacity remains constrained at 8.9% below pre-COVID-19 levels (September 2019).

Supply chain disruptions and the resulting delivery delays have led to long supplier delivery times.

This typically means manufacturers use air transport, which is quicker, to recover time lost during the production process.

The September global Supplier Delivery Time Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was at 36, values below 50 are favorable for air cargo.

The September new export orders component and manufacturing output component of the PMIs have deteriorated from levels in previous month but remain in favorable territory.

Manufacturing activity continued to expand at a global level but, there was contraction in emerging economies.

The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low ahead of the peak year-end retail events such as Single’s Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is positive for air cargo, however further capacity constraints put this at risk.

Middle East Air Cargo Volumes Up 15.4% in August v/s Pre-COVID Levels

The cost-competitiveness of air cargo relative to that of container shipping remains favorable. Pre-crisis, the average price to move air cargo was 12.5 times more expensive than sea shipping. In September 2021 it was only three times more expensive.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General said: “Air cargo demand grew 9.1% in September compared to pre-COVID levels. There is a benefit from supply chain congestion as manufacturers turn to air transport for speed.

"But severe capacity constraints continue to limit the ability of air cargo to absorb extra demand. If not addressed, bottlenecks in the supply chain will slow the economic recovery from COVID-19.

"Governments must act to relieve pressure on global supply chains and improve their overall resilience.”

To relieve supply chain disruptions, including those highlighted by the US on supply chain resilience on the sidelines of last weekend’s G20 Summit, IATA is calling on governments to:

  • Ensure that air crew operations are not hindered by COVID-19 restrictions designed for air travelers.

  • Implement the commitments governments made at the ICAO High Level Conference on COVID-19 to restore international connectivity. This will ramp-up vital cargo capacity with “belly” space.

  • Provide innovative policy incentives to address labor shortages where they exist.

Read More: IATA Highlights 4 Keys to Post-Pandemic Air Cargo Resilience

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