September 2020 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Published November 4, 2020. 

Recovery in air cargo modestly accelerated in September


  • The speed of recovery in air cargo increased slightly in September. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) fell by 8.0% year-on-year compared with 12.1% decline in August. Month-on-month, CTKs showed the fastest growth since May, at 3.7%. The industry rebound remains largely driven by North American airlines.
  • Key demand drivers of air cargo remain supportive despite the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. In Q4, cargo demand should be reasonably solid amid traditionally large e-commerce events & launches of popular consumer electronics.
  • The lack of cargo capacity remains a key obstacle for faster recovery in air cargo business. Global available cargo tonne-kilometres fell by 25.2% year-on-year in September – more than three times faster contraction than in demand

Africa continues to lead the recovery in int’l cargo
African airlines led the international CTK growth chart for another month, recording 9.7% annual increase in cargo volumes. This small and quite volatile market recorded one of the smallest declines during the crisis and its volumes returned back to the pre-crisis levels in two months or so. That said, it has been largely Africa-Asia trade lanes that drove the region’s recovery (+21.6% y-o-y), due to the solid foreign investment from recovering China into the region. 

Air cargo demand improved further in September

The pace of recovery in air cargo volumes accelerated slightly in September. Industry-wide cargo tonnekilometres (CTKs) contracted by 8% year-on-year – a solid improvement on 12.1% decline in August. In month-on-month terms, CTKs picked up by 3.7%, which represents the fastest increase since May. Download the full document here.