ACI World: Covid-19 turning point was in March

By Rachelle Harry

Airports Council International (ACI) World, which collects and analyses passenger and air cargo data from select airports, has highlighted that March was the ‘turning point’ month in which airfreight trends, and most significantly passenger trends, changed dramatically due to Covid-19.

Global airfreight volumes declined by 14.4% year on year in March this year, compared with March 2019, resulting in a 6.9% decrease in volumes the first quarter of 2020.

The decline seen March was mostly driven by falls in volumes in Asia Pacific (-17.2%) and Europe (-16.4%).

North America recorded a less significant decline of 6.6% in total freight volumes mitigated by a “relatively modest” decrease in its domestic traffic of 1.6%. 

ACI World said that the Middle East (-17.9%), Africa (-20.8%) and Latin America-Caribbean (-23.4%) reported declines inline with major markets for March 2020.

ACI World director general Angela Gittens, commented: “The second week of March was a turning point for the reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic as national governments implemented strict confinement measures which brought the industry to a virtual halt.” 

“Global freight volumes have not been affected to the same extent as passenger traffic.

“The need to move time-sensitive shipments and vital supplies — including urgent medical supplies  and goods to support the global economy — helped the freight industry avoid the level of declines in demand experienced by the passenger traffic segment.”

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