Guarded optimism as air cargo volumes improve in May

June 19, 2020 by Choice Aviation Services0Air CargoAirfreight RatesBusinessDataStatisticsTop Story

The air cargo market showed some signs of improvement in May although a full rebound is not expected soon, according to analyst WorldACD.

The analyst said that worldwide, chargeable weight carried by air, decreased by 29% compared with May 2019, which is an improvement on the 34% drop registered in April.

“Although this small recovery does not promise a full rebound any time soon, in a number of markets some guarded optimism may be justified,” WorldACD said.

The improvement was also visible month-over-month, as May showed an increase over April of 11%.

Meanwhile, rates continued to increase during the month with yields improving by 5% compared with the April level, which was in turn 63% up on March.

“In other words, worldwide yields/rates still went up, from $3.74 per kg to $3.95 per kg, in spite of additional capacity coming to the market by an increasing number of passenger aircraft being (partly) converted into freighters,” WorldACD said.

However, there was some drop-off in prices as the month progressed.

WorldACD data shows that the Middle East & South Asia (MESA) suffered the most in April (-70% YoY), but came back strongest in May (+45% MoM).

WorldACD added: “The other origin regions showed a MoM increase varying from 4% (North America) to 14% (Central & South America). The origin Africa showed the largest increase in US dollar-yields/rates (+13% MoM) whilst changes in other regions hovered between -10% (Europe and North America) and +12% (Asia Pacific & MESA).”

WorldACD said that in terms of product categories, the most “unexpected development” was a 1% YoY decrease in pharmaceuticals & temperature-controlled goods, the first such decrease for this category in 2020.

The larger perishable categories outperformed the market as a whole in MoM growth: Fruits & Vegetables +16% and Fish & Seafood +26%.

“The much-reported increase in passenger aircraft being transformed into ‘quasi-freighters’ was clearly visible in the strong load factor jump in passenger aircraft (see below),” WorldACD said.

“Within the month of May, we also noted a drop in the market share of the freighter companies between the first full week of May and the last one, another sign that the conversions started to have some impact.”

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