Supply chain disruptions as well as the easing of capacity constraints on aircraft provided the perfect storm for air cargo to get a major boost in October. But like all others sector of travel, global air cargo's recovery could seriously be threatened by the new Omicron variant.
Demand for global air cargo rose 9.4 percent in October compared to the same period in 2019, spurred in large part by manufacturers turning to air transport to combat delivery delays caused by supply chain disruptions mostly occurring at sea.
The International Air Transport Association released on Wednesday its October data showing the demand for air cargo markets worldwide is above pre-pandemic levels as capacity constraints have been slightly eased.
“October data reflected an overall positive outlook for air cargo. Supply chain congestion continued to push manufacturers towards the speed of air cargo,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.
The push toward air transport was boosted by the global Supplier Delivery Time Purchasing Managers Index reaching an all-time low of 34.8 in October — values below 50 are considered favorable for air cargo.
Numerous regions also saw an increase in international cargo volumes in October compared to pre-pandemic figures. African airlines recorded the largest jump of all areas, as international cargo volumes rose 26.7 percent. While Latin America was the only region to report a decline — 6.6 percent compared to 2019 — volumes did show improvement from the prevous month, a 17 percent fall.
However, Walsh expressed concern about the possible impact of the new Omicron variant on air transport. “If (the variant) dampens travel demand, capacity issues will become more acute,” he said.
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Photo credit: The demand for international air cargo rose in October TrainLearnGrow / Pixabay