Airports Council International (ACI) World reported that global air freight has been less impacted than passenger traffic by the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting the crucial role the industry has played in alleviating the effects of the pandemic through the transport of goods, essential medicine, and equipment.
In a statement, ACI World said based on August 2020 data, the trend continued with global air freight volumes remaining relatively stable, declining by just 10.9% year-on-year in July and a similar 10.7% drop in August.
For the first eight months of 2020, global air freight volumes were down 12.1% compared to 2019 with the global 12 month rolling average recorded at 8.7%, continuing a downward trend.
"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, global air freight volumes have been much less impacted then the passenger volumes and the summer end figures are painting a similar picture. The COVID-19 pandemic reduced air freight volumes by slightly more than a tenth year-over-year in July (-10.9%) and August (-10.7%)," ACI World said.
In August, it noted that the improvement in international air freight was damped by a drop in domestic air freight.
Improvements seen across all regions
ACI Word said all regions besides North America recorded improved air freight volumes in August compared to July 2020 but remain significantly into negative territories year-over-year.
Two of the major air freight markets – Asia-Pacific and Europe – recorded fewer losses in August compared to July and are now showing decreases of 14.2% and 12% respectively for August compared to 2019.
North America saw its total air freight growth deteriorate in August from 6.3% year-over-year in July to only a 0.1% increase in August compared to August 2019.
"The international air freight market volumes continued to improve over the summer recording a decline of 12% year-over-year in August compared to 19.6% in May. On the other hand, global domestic freight volumes worsen in August (-7.4%) year-over-year) compared to July (-1.4% year-over-year)," it added, noting that this is mainly driven by the weak performance of North American’s domestic market.
North America recorded positive volumes in August with an increase of 1.5% year-over-year, down from an increase of 12.7% in July.