As global air cargo demand in February measured in cargo tonne kilometres (CTKs) decreased by 1.4% compared to the same period last year, reflecting the negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis, African carriers posted the fastest growth of any region for the 12th consecutive month, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Demand increased by 6.2% while capacity grew 3.0% year on year. The Africa-Asia and Africa-Middle East trade lanes continue to bring robust growth to the region, according to Iata.
Iata said a key factor driving the global slump was the sharp drop in manufacturing production in China, one of the world’s largest air cargo markets, due to widespread factory closures and travel restrictions.
In addition, significant cargo capacity was lost as a result of airlines reducing passenger operations in response to government travel restrictions due to Covid-19, severely affecting global supply chains.
“Among all the uncertainty in this crisis, one thing is clear—air cargo is vital,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and CEO. “It is delivering lifesaving drugs and medical equipment. And it is supporting global supply chains. That’s why it is critical for governments to remove any blockers as the industry does all it can to keep the global air cargo network functioning in the crisis and ready for the recovery.”