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 declined 20% in the last two weeks compared to last year

Air cargo capacity continues to recover, although at a slow pace, going from -21% in September to -20% for the last two weeks. Global air cargo capacity is at its lowest percentual decline since mid-March.

Map showing total air cargo capacity

Note: Thickness of arrows is representative of May 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) 29 Sep – 12 Oct 2019, all dates measured in UTC; Source: Seabury Consulting, Part of Accenture Capacity Tracking database, Seabury Consulting Part of Accenture analysis (October 2020)

Maintenance of large freighters has peaked in preparation of the Q4 peak season

B777Fs and B747Fs are temporarily taken out of service during China’s Golden Week, although noticeably less than previous years; roughly two thirds of lost capacity is taken out in and between Northeast Asia and Europe.

Chart showing number of aircraft

Note: Aircraft considered “out of service” in case time between consecutive flights exceeded 120 hours (typical time for a C-check); Gaps between flights have been verified to predominantly take place at carrier (maintenance) hubs; Source: Seabury Consulting Part of Accenture Capacity Tracking database, Seabury Consulting analysis

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