The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that global demand measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 12 per cent in April 2020, compared to April 2019, and 7.8 per cent compared to March 2021.
The report indicated that seasonally adjusted demand was five per cent higher than the pre-crisis August 2018 peak.
The strong performance was led by North American carriers contributing 7.5 percentage to the overall growth. Airlines in all other regions except for Latin America also supported the growth.
Capacity remains 9.7 per cent below pre-COVID-19 levels (April 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft.
Airlines continued to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly capacity, it stated.
"Underlying economic conditions and favourable supply chain dynamics remain supportive for air cargo: global trade rose 4.2 per cent in March; competitiveness against sea shipping has improved.
"Air cargo rates have stabilized since reaching a peak in April 2020, while shipping container rates have remain relatively high in comparison.
"Air cargo continues to be the good news story for the air transport sector. Demand is up 12 per cent on pre-crisis levels and yields are solid. Some regions are outperforming the global trend, most notably carriers in North America, the Middle East and Africa. "Strong air cargo performance, however, is not universal. The recovery for carriers in the Latin American region, for example, is stalled," said IATA's Director General, Willie Walsh.