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03 Feb 2021 | 13:28

Air cargo suffers worst year since records began

(Sharecast News) - Demand for air cargo fell suffered its sharpest fall in 2020 since records began as capacity plunged by more than a fifth in the Covid-19 crisis.

Cargo demand dropped 10.6% overall and 11.8% on international flights, the International Air Transport Association reported. The decline was the biggest since Iata started monitoring activity in 1990 and outpaced the 6% fall in global trade in goods.

Global capacity shrank 23.3% and by 24.1% in international markets - more than double the drop in demand in both cases. Lack of capacity increased cargo load factors by 7.7%, supporting yields and revenue for airlines and some long-haul passenger services as people and businesses chose not to fly.

Conditions improved towards the year end. Demand was down 0.5% in December and global capacity had a 17.7% shortfall.

Iata said the figures showed a continuing, severe capacity crunch and little end in sight with passenger markets affected by renewed restrictions to stem Covid-19 infections.

Alexandre de Juniac, Iata's chief executive, said: "For many airlines, 2020 saw air cargo become a vital source of revenues, despite weakened demand. But with much of the passenger fleet grounded, meeting demand without belly capacity continues to be an enormous challenge. 2021 will be another tough year."

Iata said economic conditions were picking up with surveys showing export orders for manufacturers growing and industrial production increasing.
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