The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets for May showing a slight improvement in the air cargo market. But capacity remains unable to meet demand as a result of the loss of belly cargo operations on passenger aircraft that have been parked.
African airlines posted the smallest contraction of any region in May, extending a run of resilient performance. Africa has now ranked in the top two regions for 15 consecutive months. Year-on-year international demand fell by 6.3 percent. The small Africa-Asia market was particularly resilient in May, down only 0.4 percent. International capacity decreased 37.7 percent.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell by 20.3 percent in May (-21.5 percent for international operations) compared to the previous year. That is an improvement from the 25.6 percent year-on-year drop recorded in April.
Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 34.7 percent in May (-32.2 percent for international operations) compared to the previous year, a slight deceleration from the 41.6 percent year-on-year drop in April.
belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 66.4 percent in May compared to the previous year due to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the Covid-19 crisis (up slightly from the 75.1 percent year-on-year decline in April). This was partially offset by a 25.2 percent increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft.
The cargo load factor (CLF) rose 10.4 percentage points in May. This was a slight decrease from the 12.8 percentage point rise in April. However, the extent of the increase suggests that there is still pent-up demand for air cargo which cannot be met due to the continued grounding of many passenger flights.
Gobal export orders continue to fall but at a slower pace. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) tracking new manufacturing export orders improved from the trough seen in April despite remaining in contractionary territory.