THE global air cargo market saw a 4% year-on-year decline in the four weeks to February 2, according to market intelligence from CLIVE Data Services.

CLIVE’s analysis each month seeks to consolidate data shared by a group of international airlines operating across the world.

Based on both the volume and weight perspectives of the cargo flown and capacity available, it provides a monthly barometer of market performance.

Four-week data to February 2 is said to reflect the influence of the earlier Chinese New Year but CLIVE is also monitoring the impact of the coronavirus on airfreight volumes.

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CLIVE managing director, Niall van de Wouw said the 4% drop in global air cargo appeared to be quite a setback relative to the growth seen during the past three months of 2019.

In the last week of January, volumes from China to Europe, relative to the same week in 2019, fell 66%. Subsequently, the dynamic load factor of westbound flights from China dropped from close to 90% to 74%.

The reason for the load factor not dropping further was said to be due to airlines cutting capacity by 44% relative to the same week last year.

“While the industry traditionally anticipates lower demand during Chinese New Year, the big unknown now is the impact of the coronavirus at the start of a year where there was previously slight optimism for a modest recovery in air cargo volumes,” Mr van de Wouw said.

“The impact of the coronavirus on cargo volumes out of China will become clearer in the weeks to come when the factories reopen and their supply chains are brought up to speed again. “How quickly that will happen – and what knock-on effects it has for global air cargo industry – will be a strong indicator for the year ahead.”

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