WorldACD: Air cargo revenues up but volumes down in April

Air cargo revenues and yields continued to improve in April, despite a drop of in volumes of more than 30%, according to WorldACD.

Global air cargo revenues increased in April; by 36% year on year when compared with April 2019 and by 26% when compared with March 2020.

However, chargeable airfreight weight in April this year decreased 31.7% year on year and 22.8% month-on-month.

“Again, a great weight loss for worldwide air cargo, but frenzied markets moved in very different ways,” the analyst said.

WorldACD noted that in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, there has been an increase in the amount of pharmaceutical and high-tech cargo being transported globally. Year on year revenue for the two sectors increased by 116% and 71% respectively.

“Big shipments of more than 5,000 kg were heavily favored: they hardly lost ground, while upping yields by more than average,” WorldACD said.

Indeed, worldwide yields (measured in US revenue dollars divided by kgs transported) dramatically increased in April ⁠— by 99% year on year and by 63% month on month.

WorldACD attributes this spike in yields to the capacity crunch brought on by the passenger air travel market collapsing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cargo load factor for passenger aircraft used solely for cargo operations increased by 12 percentage points. While freighter load factors decreased each week from March 1 to April 30, the use of passenger aircraft for cargo-only flights caused load factors to rise strongly and steadily from early April.

Air cargo volumes increased throughout April. “The last 10 days of April recorded worldwide volumes 6% higher than in the first 10 days,” WorldACD reported.

Each region performed differently in terms of April airfreight volumes. Africa saw a 5% increase; the Asia Pacific experienced an 8% increase, the Middle East & South Asia (MESA) reported a 14% increase and Latin America saw the largest increase at 32%. Europe saw a decrease of 1% and and North America reported a 5% decline.

Cargo-only airlines experienced a 29% increase in revenues from March to April 2020.

Year on year regional revenues in April also varied: Africa -based airlines reported an 18% decrease; North America-based airlines experienced a 4% decline; Asia Pacific airlines saw a 70% increase; MESA-based airlines reported a 40% climb; and Europe-based airlines reported a 30% increase.

WorldACD also looked at country to country performance. Cargo weight increased by 64% between Columbia and the US from March to April 2020, likely caused by Mothers’ Day flower flights.

Between China and Germany, cargo weight was 57% higher than in March 2020. Revenues on this route increased by 281% month on month.

On Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia routes, cargo weight increased by 207% month on month. Revenues increased by 330% month on month.

Shipments from Hong Kong to Japan saw cargo weights decrease by 27% and revenues decrease by 30% month on month.

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