Air freight traffic is outperforming passenger traffic even more strongly

Freight is up!

Monthly traffic data from IATA highlights an even stronger outperformance of freight traffic, measured in freight tonne kilometers, compared with passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers.

The gap between the two is much wider than seen in the weekly capacity data noted above.

The worst month for both was Apr-2020 when global RPKs fell by 94.3% year-on-year – an almost total shutdown of passenger traffic.

However, FTKs fell by ‘only’ 27.7% year-on-year in Apr-2020. This was still a cataclysmic fall by any normal standards, but this is not a normal crisis, and it was hugely better than the performance of passenger traffic.

The year-on-year rate of decline has narrowed for both freight and passenger traffic in each subsequent month. However, in Aug-2020 RPKs had only recovered to -75.3%, while FTKs had reached -12.6%.

Although freight traffic is performing much better than passenger traffic, the year-on-year rate of decline for freight has been leveling out. This suggests that its recovery may be losing momentum.

Source: IATACAPA – Centre for Aviation.


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