Global air cargo demand up 9.1% in September: IATA


Global demand for cargo was up 9.1% during September, as compared to September 2019, showing that demand continued to be well above pre-covid levels, though capacity constraints continue to persist, airline lobby group The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“Capacity remains constrained at 8.9% below pre-covid-19 levels (September 2019) (-12% for international operations),” it said adding that comparisons have been made between September 2021 and September 2019 as comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the impact of the pandemic. 

“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,” it added. 

According to IATA data, airlines in the Asia-Pacific region saw their international air cargo volumes increase 4.5% in September 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, while North American carriers posted a 19.3% increase in international cargo volumes in September 2021 compared to September 2019.

European carriers saw a 5.3% increase in international cargo volumes in September 2021 compared to the same month in 2019 while Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 17.6% rise in international cargo volumes in September 2021 against September 2019. 

Meanwhile, South American carriers reported a decline of 17.1% in international cargo volumes in September compared to the 2019 period, which was the weakest performance of all regions, while African airlines’ saw international cargo volumes increase by 34.6% in September, the largest increase of all regions for the ninth consecutive month.

 “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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General in a statement. 

“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,” Walsh added. 

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