IATA concerns over cargo capacity

Written by: Alwyn Brice |
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Global demand, measured in cargo tonne kilometres, fell by 15.2% in March compared to the previous year, reports IATA.

In a similar vein, global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres, shrank by 22.7% in March compared to the same month in 2019, underlining the predicament faced by the sector because of COVID-19.

International markets, according to IATA, account for 87% of air cargo and it notes that belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 43.7% in March compared to the previous year. This was only partially offset by a 6.2% increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft, including the use of idle passenger aircraft for all-cargo operations: this latter solution is now gaining traction within the sector.

“At present, we don’t have enough capacity to meet the remaining demand for air cargo. Volumes fell by over 15% in March compared to the previous year. But capacity plummeted by almost 23%. The gap must be addressed quickly because vital supplies must get to where they are needed most. For example, there is a doubling of demand for pharmaceutical shipments that are critical to this crisis," declared Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

"With most of the passenger fleet sitting idle, airlines are doing their best to meet demand by adding freighter services, including adapting passenger aircraft to all-cargo activity. But mounting these special operations continues to face bureaucratic hurdles. Governments must cut the red tape needed to approve special flights and ensure safe and efficient facilitation of crew.”

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