Geneva [Switzerland], June 3 (ANI): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets in April showing that demand dropped 27.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2019 -- the sharpest fall ever recorded.
Still, there was insufficient capacity to meet demand as a result of the loss of belly cargo operations on passenger aircraft.
Global demand measured in cargo tonne-kilometres fell by 27.7 per cent in April compared to the previous year (minus 29.5 per cent for international markets). And global capacity shrank by 42 per cent (minus 40.9 per cent for international markets).
Belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 75 per cent in April compared to the previous year. This was partially offset by a 15 per cent increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft. Asia Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo fall by 28.1 per cent.
The cargo load factor rose 11.5 percentage points in April, the largest increase since tracking began. The magnitude of the rise suggests that there is significant demand for air cargo which cannot be met owing to the cessation of most passenger flights.
"There is a severe capacity crunch in air cargo. Demand fell by 27.7 per cent compared to April 2019. But capacity was down 42 per cent because of the sharp cuts in passenger operations which also carry cargo," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
"The result is damaging global supply chains with longer shipping times and higher costs. Airlines are deploying as much capacity as possible, including special charter operations and the temporary use of passenger cabins for cargo," he said in a statement.
Governments need to continue to ensure that vital supply lines remain open and efficient. "While many have responded with speed and clarity to facilitate the movement of cargo, government red-tape -- particularly in Africa and Latin America -- is preventing the industry from flexibly deploying aircraft to meet the demands of the pandemic and the global economy," said de Juniac.
IATA urged governments to accelerate approvals for cargo operations, expedite customs clearance for urgently needed medical supplies, and ensure there is adequate staff on the ground and land-based infrastructure to move cargo efficiently. (ANI)