Air freight demand grew by 12 percent in April this year from pre-COVID levels. According to a report released today by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global demand for air freight transport in cargo ton-kilometers grew by 12 percent in April 2021 compared to April 2019. It has also registered an increase of 7.8 percent as compared to March 2021. This is five per cent more than the pre-COVID period high of August 2018.
IATA has clarified that there has been a lot of turmoil in air transport due to Kovid-19. For this reason the data for April 2020 and April 2021 cannot be compared. Hence the comparison has been made with the figures of April 2019.
North American airlines contributed the most to the strong figures for April this year. They account for 7.5 per cent of the 12 per cent growth. Except for Latin America, all other regions have seen an increase in figures.
IATA Director General Willie Walls said, “Freight transport in the air transport sector remains good news. Demand is 12 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels and companies’ profits are much higher. Some regions are performing well above the global average, notably North America, West Asia and Africa. However, not every sector has performed well. Latin America, for example, is not showing improvement.
The report said that despite the increase in demand, due to the ban on passenger flights, the freight capacity remained 9.7 percent lower than the pre-Covid level. The shortage of available space in the passenger plane’s belly was made up by the airline companies by operating dedicated cargo planes. Available capacity at Bailey decreased by 38.5 percent in April, while the number of dedicated freight flights increased by 26.2 percent.