KUALA LUMPUR (May 4): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that global demand for air cargo in March 2021 continued to outperform pre-Covid-19 levels (March 2019), with demand up by 4.4%.
The association said the demand in March reached the highest level recorded since the data for global air cargo markets series began in 1990.
IATA director-general Willie Walsh said air cargo continues to be the bright spot for aviation and airlines are taking all measures to find the needed capacity.
“The crisis has shown that air cargo can meet fundamental challenges by adopting innovations quickly.
“That is how it is meeting growing demand even as much of the passenger fleet remains grounded,” Walsh said in a statement today.
He added that the sector needs to retain this momentum post-pandemic to drive the industry’s long-term efficiency with digitalisation.
IATA also revealed a month-on-month demand increase with volumes up 0.4% in March over February 2021 levels.
However, the growth was slower than the previous month, which saw demand increasing by 9.2% compared with February 2019.
“A weaker performance by Asia-Pacific and African carriers contributed to the softer growth in March,” IATA said.
Meanwhile, the association said new export orders are among the underlying economic conditions that remain supportive for air cargo.
“Besides export orders, delivery times for manufactured goods are increasing which normally indicates increased demand for air cargo in efforts to reduce shipping time.
“Global trade rose 0.3% in February – the ninth consecutive monthly increase and the longest continuous growth in more than two decades – is also supporting demand for air cargo,” it said.