The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air cargo markets showing slower growth in November 2021.
Supply chain disruptions and capacity constraints impacted demand, despite economic conditions remaining favourable for the sector.
The association however called on governments to ensure that aircrew operations are not hindered by COVID-19 restrictions designed for air travellers in order to relieve supply chain disruptions in the air cargo industry.
Governments, it added, should also implement the commitments made at the ICAO High-Level Conference on COVID-19 to restore international connectivity, including for passenger travel, saying, “this will ramp-up vital cargo capacity with “belly” space.”
As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons below are to November 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.
Global demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometres (CTKs), was up 3.7% compared to November 2019 (4.2% for international operations). This was significantly lower than the 8.2% growth seen in October 2021 (9.2% for international operations) and in previous months.
Capacity was 7.6% below November 2019 (-7.9% for international operations). This was relatively unchanged from October. Capacity remains constrained with bottlenecks at key hubs.
Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth, however, supply chain disruptions are slowing growth.
It highlighted the factors responsible for this as labour shortages partly due to employees being in quarantine, insufficient storage space at some airports and processing backlogs exacerbated by the year-end rush that created supply chain disruptions.
IATA observed that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in many advanced economies has created strong demand for PPE shipments, which are usually carried by air.