The state of air cargo and global trade

The COVID-19 pandemic is a health and humanitarian crisis, and it is also an economic shock. We will be providing weekly updates throughout the COVID-19 crisis on air cargo capacity changes based on actual flight movements.

With our comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date demand and supply databases, Seabury Consulting, now part of Accenture's travel industry practice, is able to provide insights and data on air, express and ocean freight demand and capacity on a global basis.

Global air cargo capacity is 26% lower compared to last year

Trade lanes to and from Asia fare better than the global average; Eastbound Transpacific capacity grows 4% compared to last year. Asia - Europe capacity declines by only -10% and Asia to Latin America by -13%. Transatlantic air cargo capacity shows no signs of recovery yet.

Total air cargo capacity growth, 10-16 May 2020 vs. same week last year

Note: Thickness of arrows is representative of January 2020 capacity in metric tonnes, direct flights only; all flows indicate region-to-region capacity; regions are indicated by color coding; 1) Total cargo capacity includes widebody passenger and all freighter flights; 2) Same week last year defined as 12 – 18 May 2019, all dates measured in UTC; Source: Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture Capacity Tracking database, Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture analysis (May 2020)

Passenger freighters drive the continued recovery of widebody belly capacity

Freighter capacity remains relatively stable compared to last week, while belly capacity continues to recover due to passenger freighters, the 17% increase vs. last week equates to 27,000 tonnes of capacity (~1,820 flights).

Daily international cargo capacity, Feb - May 2020

Note: Direct capacity only; All freighters and widebody passenger aircraft only, Date measured in UTC time; 1) Corrected for day-off-week fluctuations, smoothened for clarification; 2) Comparing 10 – 16 May 2020 to 12 – 18 May 2019; 3) Comparing 10 – 16 May 2020 vs. 3 – 9 May 2020; 4) Freighter aircraft (excluding those operated for integrators and "passenger freighters”); Source: Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture Capacity Tracking database, Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture analysis (May 2020)

Growth in passenger freighter capacity is heavily Asia Pacific oriented

The majority of growth in passenger freighter capacity is noticeable to and from Asia, or within the Middle East & South Asia. Other key trade lanes such as the Transatlantic have seen limited passenger freighter growth. Passenger freighters add close to 75,000 tonnes of air cargo capacity per week since peak decline, most of it directed towards urgent demand of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Passenger freighter cargo capacity growth by trade lanes, peak decline week to 10-16 May

Note: 1) Comparing 10 – 16 May to 29 Mar – 5 Apr in order to compare Sunday to Saturday in both cases 2) Trade lanes not marked showed a (minor) decrease in passenger-freighter capacity versus the week of global peak decline; Source: Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture Capacity Tracking database, Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture analysis (May 2020)

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