Airlines in Asia-Pacific and Europe suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air cargo volumes in January 2020, while North American and Middle East carriers experienced a more moderate decline. Latin America and Africa were the only regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to January 2019.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air cargo contract by 5.9% in January 2020, compared to the year-earlier period. This was the sharpest drop in freight demand of any region for the month. Capacity growth was flat. Seasonally-adjusted cargo demand rose slightly however, following the thawing of US-China trade relations. The impact from COVID-19 is expected to affect February’s performance.
North American airlines saw demand decrease by 1.3% in January 2020, compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 3.4%. Seasonally-adjusted cargo demand rose slightly however, amid a more supportive operating environment and following the thawing of US-China trade relations.
European airlines posted a 3.7% decrease in cargo demand in January 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier – more than double the 1.3%% drop in year-on-year demand in December. Seasonally-adjusted demand also dropped sharply, disrupting the positive trend that started mid-2019. Capacity decreased by 3.0% year-on-year.
Middle Eastern airlines’ cargo volumes decreased 1.4% in January 2020 compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased by 2.9%. Against a backdrop of operational and geopolitical challenges facing some of the region’s key airlines, seasonally-adjusted freight volumes ticked down in January, but a modest upwards trend has been sustained. However, given the Middle East’s position connecting trade between China and the rest of the world, the region’s carriers have significant exposure to the impact of COVID-19 in the period ahead.
Latin American airlines experienced an increase in freight demand in January 2020 of 1.4% compared to January 2019 – reversing the 2.5% decrease in December. Seasonally-adjusted freight volumes in the region also ticked upwards, underpinned by new route connections, which is a positive development for the region’s carriers. Capacity increased by 2.4% year-on-year.
African carriers posted the fastest growth of any region for the 11th consecutive month in January 2020, with an increase in demand of 6.8% compared to the same period a year earlier. Growth on the smaller Africa-Asia trade lanes (up 12.4% in 2019) contributed to the positive performance. Capacity grew 5.9% year-on-year.
Also published on Medium.