Asia Pacific’s airlines saw demand for international air cargo rise 10.5 percent in February compared to the same month in 2019 according to the latest data from International Air Transport Association (IATA).
As the main global manufacturing hub, the region has benefited from the pickup in economic activity. IATA said demand in the majority of the region’s key international trade lanes has returned to pre-Covid-19 levels.
International capacity remained constrained in the region, down 23.6 percent versus February 2019, whilst load factor for the region’s airlines stood at 77.4 percent—the highest globally.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said, “one of the main challenges for air cargo is finding sufficient capacity. This makes cargo yields a bright spot in an otherwise bleak industry situation.”
The air cargo performance in Asia Pacific reflected the overall global performance which saw demand up nine percent over February 2019, outperforming pre-Covid levels.
“February demand showed strong month-on-month growth over January 2021 levels. Volumes have now returned to 2018 levels seen prior to the US-China trade war,” it said.
On passenger traffic, total demand for air travel in February 2021 was down 74.7 percent compared to February 2019, worse than the 72.2 percent decline recorded in January 2021 versus two years ago.
“Understanding how passenger demand could recover will indicate how much belly capacity will be available for air cargo. Being able to efficiently plan that into air cargo operations will be a key element for overall recovery,” Walsh added.