October 2020 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Published December 8, 2020. 

Air cargo continues improvement


  • Air cargo continued to recover although the pace of improvement softened modestly compared with September. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) fell by 6.2% year-on-year versus 7.8% fall in the previous month. North American airlines showed the strongest outcome, with CTKs up 6.2% compared with a year ago.
  • The near-term outlook is upbeat since Q4 is a peak season for air cargo and demand drivers are supportive. Cargo volumes are expected to fall by 12% in 2020 as a whole and recover to pre-crisis levels in 2021.
  • Industry-wide load factor reached a record high level for October amidst ongoing shortage of cargo capacity

African carriers post the best CTK performance
Notwithstanding the softer year-on-year expansion, Africa continues to lead the CTK growth chart. The region’s international cargo volumes rose by 2.8% – down from 12.1% in September but in line with August. The main culprit behind the slowdown was the AsiaAfrica market where CTK growth decelerated by 19ppts, to +4% year-on-year. Outsized volatility typical for this small market might partly explain the weakness.

Cargo volumes picked up for another month

Air cargo continued to recover from the low point of the crisis. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) fell by 6.2% year-on-year in October, compared with 7.8% annual decline in September. In month-on-month terms, volumes picked up by 1.1% and reached 2016 levels. 
    The pace of recovery in global air cargo eased modestly compared with the previous month. Performance of North American airlines softened slightly to 6.2% year-on-year following the strong rebound (8.6% year-on-year) in the previous month. Also, ongoing recovery of airlines in the Middle East lost pace. Nevertheless, expectations for the year-end developments remain upbeat. Fourth quarter is typically a peak season for air cargo business amidst popular e-commerce events such as Black Friday and Christmas. Download the full document here.