The COVID-19 crisis has pushed freight load factors too much higher levels than usual.
This is a market segment where capacity is typically less than half full. According to IATA, the freight load factor was only 46.7% in 2019 and was in the range of 43% to 49% from 2011 to 2018.
In 2020, the monthly freight load factor was 54.8% in Aug-2020, after growing from 45.0% in Jan-2020 and reaching as high as 58.0% in Apr-2020. It has been 10-11ppts higher than last year every month since Apr-2020.
This reflects the lack of passenger belly capacity, which is usually more important than freighter capacity, and a much more robust level of demand for air freight compared with the demand for passenger air travel.