By Chinelo Obogo
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released September 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that demand continued to be well above pre-crisis levels and that capacity constraints persist.
African airlines’ saw international cargo volumes increase by 34.6 per cent in September, the largest increase of all regions for the ninth consecutive month. Seasonally adjusted volumes are now 20 per cent above pre-crisis 2019 levels but have been trending sideways for the past six months. International capacity was 6.9% higher than pre-crisis levels, the only region in positive territory, albeit on small volumes.
Supply chain disruptions and the resulting delivery delays have led to long supplier delivery times. This typically means manufacturers use air transport, which is quicker, to recover time lost during the production process. The September global Supplier Delivery Time Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was at 36, values below 50 are favorable for air cargo.
The September new export orders component and manufacturing output component of the PMIs have deteriorated from levels in previous month but remain in favorable territory. Manufacturing activity continued to expand at a global level but, there was contraction in emerging economies.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said, “Air cargo demand grew 9.1 per cent in September compared to pre-COVID levels. There is a benefit from supply chain congestion as manufacturers turn to air transport for speed. But severe capacity constraints continue to limit the ability of air cargo to absorb extra demand. If not addressed, bottlenecks in the supply chain will slow the economic recovery from COVID-19. Governments must act to relieve pressure on global supply chains and improve their overall resilience.”
IATA also announced a moderate rebound in air travel in September 2021 compared to August’s performance. This was driven by recovery in domestic markets, in particular China, where some travel curbs were lifted following the COVID-19 outbreaks in August. International demand, meanwhile, slipped slightly compared to the previous month.
Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons are to September 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern. Total demand for air travel in September 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 53.4 per cent compared to September 2019. This marked an uptick from August, when demand was 56.0 per cent below August 2019 levels.
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By Chinelo Obogo The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released September 2021 data for global…
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