A new report released by International Air Traffic Association (IATA) reveals that African airlines recorded a 1% increase in international cargo demand in August.

This marks the fourth consecutive month that continental airlines posted the strongest increase in international demand, as Latin American airlines recorded a steady -26.1% demand compared to last year, European airlines reported a decrease of 19.3%, and Middle Eastern carriers demand declined by 6.8%. North American carriers reported a fall of 4%, while Asia-Pacific carriers had an 18.1% decline.

Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 29.4% in August (‑31.6% for international operations) compared to the previous year.

This is basically unchanged from the 31.8% year-on-year drop in July.

“Air cargo demand improved by 1.8 percentage points in August compared to July. That’s still down 12.6% on previous year levels and well below the 5.1% improvement in the manufacturing PMI.

“Improvement is being stalled by capacity constraints as large parts of the passenger fleet, which normally carries 50% of all cargo, remain grounded,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

On the flip-side, passenger traffic sank by 90.1% as African airlines struggled to attract customers amidst the ongoing lock-down and government-imposed measures to combat the spread of the novel corona virus.

Capacity contracted by 78.4% and the average load factor fell 41.0 percentage points to 34.6%, the lowest in the world.

However, the airline industry will be hoping for better days, as many nations have begun resuming to normal pre-pandemic days.

“The peak season for air cargo will start in the coming weeks, but with severe capacity constraints shippers may look to alternatives such as ocean and rail to keep the global economy moving,” added Alexandre de Juniac.

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