The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has painted a rosy picture for the future of airfreight, predicting that demand will exceed pre-crisis (2019) levels by 8% while revenues are expected to rise to a record $175 billion. Yields are expected to grow by 15%.
In 2022 demand is expected to exceed pre-crisis (2019) levels by 13%, with revenues expected to rise to $169bn, although there will be an 8% decline in yields.
This, says Brendan Sullivan, Iata’s global head of cargo, is due to favourable indicators such as inventory levels and manufacturing output. “World trade is forecast to grow at 9.5% this year and 5.6% in 2022, e-commerce continues to grow at a double-digit rate, and demand for high-value specialised cargo – such as temperature-sensitive healthcare goods and vaccines - is rising.”
But, he points out, the surge in demand for air cargo and attractive yields are not without complications. “Pandemic restrictions have led to severe global supply-chain congestion and created hardships for aircrew crossing international borders. Resourcing and capacity, handling and facility space and logistics will be an issue. This will create further operational challenges for our industry that must be planned for now. But we have demonstrated resilience throughout the crisis, and with that same focus we will overcome these challenges.”
Iata has urged the industry to continue working together at the same pace, and with the same levels of cooperation as during the Covid-19 pandemic to overcome future challenges and build industry resilience.
Sustainability, modernisation, and safety were highlighted as key priorities for the industry post pandemic at the 14th World Cargo Symposium (WCS), which opened in Dublin yesterday.
“Air cargo is a critically important industry. In 2020, the industry generated $129 billion, which represented approximately a third of airlines’ overall revenues, an increase of 10–15% compared to pre-crisis levels. Looking towards the future, the outlook is strong. We need to maintain the momentum established during the crisis and continue building resilience post pandemic,” says Sullivan.