New Delhi, Feb 4: Global airlines' grouping IATA said that 2020 was the worst year for air cargo demand which declined by 10.6 per cent even though the segment is "surviving the crisis in better shape than the passenger side of the business".

"This was the largest drop in year-on-year demand since IATA started to monitor cargo performance in 1990, outpacing the 6 per cent fall in global trade in goods," the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a release.

Global demand in 2020, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was 10.6 per cent below 2019 levels.

"Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 23.3 per cent in 2020... compared to 2019. This was more than double the contraction in demand," the release said.

IATA noted that due to the lack of available capacity, cargo load factors rose 7.7 per cent last year. This contributed to increased yields and revenues, providing support to airlines and some long-haul passenger services in the face of collapsed passenger revenues.

"Air cargo is surviving the crisis in better shape than the passenger side of the business. For many airlines, 2020 saw air cargo become a vital source of revenues, despite weakened demand," IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.

He, however, added that with much of the passenger fleet grounded, meeting demand without belly capacity continues to be an enormous challenge.
"And, as countries strengthen travel restrictions in the face of new coronavirus variants, it is difficult to see improvements in passenger demand or the capacity crunch. 2021 will be another tough year," Juniac said. - PTI