The 2021 air cargo market is already recovering since hitting its lowest in April last year. The airline cargo industry has officially recovered from the pandemic.
In March, IATA CEO Alexander de Junyac said that “Air freight has returned to pre-crisis levels and this is much needed good news for the global economy.” Global demand for air cargo in February 2021 increased by 9% compared to February 2019. Also, the indicators of February 2021 are 1.5% more than January of the same year.
Assessing the air cargo situation, new IATA CEO Willie Walsh noted: “Demand for cargo transportation is not just recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, it is growing. Since demand is 9% higher than the pre-crisis level (February 2019), one of the main problems of air cargo is finding sufficient capacity. ”
Analysis of regional indicators for February showed that North America and Africa were the most effective in terms of growth in demand for air cargo transportation. In the North American market, carriers in February 2021 increased international demand by 8.5% compared to January 2019. In January 2021, the demand for cargo on the African continent increased by 22.4% compared to the same month in 2019. Experts believe that this was facilitated by the growth of trade between Africa and Asia.
Virtually all regions except Latin America reported improvements at pre-pandemic levels. The demand for air cargo in Latin America remains lower than in other parts of the world. In January, the volume of international cargo here decreased by 16.1% compared to the same month in 2019.
Due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, airlines, back in 2020, began to adapt to new challenges and realities and recycle passenger aircraft for the transport of goods. In order to increase the volume of cargo, they began to use special bags for seats, a net for securing boxes. Some airlines have even started removing the seats to load as many boxes as possible.
Assessing this trend, IATA CEO Willie Walsh said, “I think the freight side of our business has done an incredible job supporting global trade. I think we are all grateful to both cargo and passenger airlines that have provided additional cargo capacity to ensure continued economic activity. ”
In 2021, many cargo companies continue to maximize their payloads, and passenger airlines are offering services to transport cargo with their empty passenger aircraft.
For example, Emirates has operated over 27,800 special cargo flights.
Today, Qatar Airways is among the leaders of the largest airlines in terms of the volume of flights performing only cargo transportation.
China Airlines has changed its development strategy and increased the payload capacity of 18 Boeing 747-400 freighters.
“China Airlines has been able to remain profitable and reach a new milestone through its strategy of prioritizing cargo over passenger services,” said operator chairman Su-Chen Xi. For the airline in 2021, cargo transportation will remain the main activity.