Global air cargo market slumps for tenth consecutive month

New Delhi: Airline industry lobby group The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday said that the air cargo market recorded tenth consecutive month of annual decline in cargo volumes in January due to the Chinese New Year, which saw Chinese manufacturers shut shop during the holiday season. According to IATA data, demand for global freight, measured in cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs), decreased by 3.3% in January 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. “January marked the tenth consecutive month of year-on-year declines in cargo volumes.

The air cargo industry started the year on a weak footing,” IATA’s Director General and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. “There was optimism that an easing of US-China trade tensions would give the sector a boost in 2020. But that has been overtaken by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has severely disrupted global supply chains, although it did not have a major impact on January’s cargo performance,” he added.

IATA has warned that the aviation sector could be staring at tough times with slowing of demand, especially with the outbreak of COVID-19. Cargo capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers (ACTKs), rose by 0.9% year-on-year in January 2020, the industry lobby group said in a statement adding that the capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 21 consecutive months. IATA added that COVID-19 outbreak didn’t play a role in January’s weak performance but the decline was mainly due to Chinese manufacturers closing operations during the Lunar New Year holiday period.

“The course of future events is unclear, but this is a sector that has proven its resilience time and again,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

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