The decline in the global air cargo market narrowed in May
On July 1, the global air cargo data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that the decline in the air cargo market in May narrowed. However, due to the lack of abdominal cabin business caused by the suspension of most passenger aircraft, the capacity still cannot meet the demand. In May, global air cargo demand (calculated in terms of cargo ton-kilometers) fell by 20.3% year-on-year (the international market dropped by 21.5%), which was an improvement from the fall in April (25.6%). Freight capacity (in terms of available freight ton-kilometers) decreased by 34.7% year-on-year (the international market fell by 32.2%), which was slightly slower than the decline in April (41.6%).
Affected by the new coronary pneumonia epidemic crisis, most passenger aircraft belly cargo operations were suspended. In May, the capacity of international airline belly capsules dropped by 66.4% year-on-year, slightly better than the rate in April (a decrease of 75.1%). The utilization rate of all-cargo planes increased, and the capacity increased by 25.2%, which partially offset the impact of the lack of capacity in the belly cabin of the cargo plane. In May, the load factor (CLF) climbed 10.4 percentage points. Compared with the increase in April (12.8 percentage points), it slightly decreased. The large-scale suspension of passenger flights resulted in the unmet demand for air cargo.
In this regard, Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said: 'Compared with 2019, air cargo demand has fallen by more than 20%. As most passenger aircraft are grounded, Freight capacity decreased by 34.7%. The gap between supply and demand indicates that finding a place on the plane to ship the goods to the destination market in time is still a challenge. Although the current outlook for air freight is stronger than passenger transport, the future is full of uncertainty. With some economies The economy has restarted and the economy is picking up from the April low, but it is not yet possible to predict the duration and depth of the recession.'
From a regional perspective, in May, air cargo volumes in all regions declined. European and Latin American airlines experienced the largest year-on-year decline in freight volume, North American and African airlines experienced smaller declines, and airlines in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East declined slightly. Specifically, European airlines' international cargo volume fell by 29.7% in May, the largest decline among all regions, and international capacity dropped by 40.1%. Latin American airlines’ international freight demand fell 22.1% year-on-year, a significant improvement from the April decline (40.7%), with international capacity falling by 39.5%. North American airlines' international freight demand in May fell 9.0% year-on-year, the region with the smallest decline except for Africa, and international capacity dropped by 28%. African Airlines' decline in May was the smallest of all regions and continued to rebound. Africa has now ranked in the top two for 15 consecutive months, with international demand falling by 6.3% year-on-year. The Asian-African market performed particularly strongly in May, with a decline of only 0.4% and an international capacity drop of 37.7%.
In fact, in order to increase freight capacity, some airlines have been actively taking relevant measures. To continue to support Sri Lanka’s export industry and maintain Sri Lanka’s and global economic ties during the epidemic, Sri Lankan Airlines has converted wide-body passenger aircraft into dedicated cargo aircraft. The Airbus A330 aircraft, which has been transformed by freight, has been in operation since June 25th, and it handles freight routes to major destinations in the Far East and Europe.
'After the transformation, the passenger aircraft will reach a total cargo capacity of 170 cubic meters, and the total payload will reach 45 tons.' Ashok Pathirage, chairman of Sri Lankan Airlines said: 'By transforming the passenger cabin, the aircraft's carrying capacity, especially Maximizing the carrying capacity of the cabin to meet Sri Lanka’s huge domestic import and export cargo demand, and to further create revenue for SriLankan Airlines while the global air passenger business is not performing well due to the epidemic.'
'The decrease in global passenger transportation demand has led to a decline in air transportation capacity in the global market, which has a huge impact on the global supply and demand industry chain. This cabin cargo correction has provided new impetus to the current huge freight market demand.' According to Sri Lanka's freight business The person in charge, Chamara Ranasinghe, said that at present, SriLankan Airlines operates cargo flights to and from more than 20 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, India and the Far East to fully meet the needs of cargo customers.