Compared to January 2019, the volume of freight level measured in cargo ton-kilometres is up 1.1% in January 2021 and up 3% compared to December 2020.
Finally, good news for commercial air transport, which has been plagued for months by the crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) announced that in January 2021, the volume of global cargo activity had returned to and even slightly exceeded (+1.1%) its pre-crisis level (compared to the January 2019 level). Compared to December 2020, the volume of cargo ton-kilometres (CKT) is up 3%.
Africa shows the best performance
By region, Africa (+21.1%), North America (+11.7%), and the Middle East (+6%) share the podium. Next come Europe (-0.4%), Asia-Pacific (-6.8%) and Latin America (-14.2%). This performance is all the more remarkable given that capacity has been reduced, due in particular to significant fleet reductions that are still widespread throughout the world. Global freight capacity thus fell by 19.5% compared to January 2019, and by 5% compared to December 2020.
Planning when to add capacity
"Air cargo traffic is back to pre-crisis levels and this is very good news for the global economy. But, while there is strong demand for freight transport, our room for manoeuvre is limited by the reduction in the bunker capacity normally provided by passenger aircraft," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA CEO. "This should be an incentive for governments to share their plans for restart so that the industry can anticipate when to add capacity. Under normal circumstances, one-third of commercial cargo moves by air. This high-value trade is vital to help rebuild the economies damaged by Covid-19, not to mention the very important role the cargo plays in the distribution of vaccines, which must continue in the near future.
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