Next year likely to be better for airfreight than 2019, IATA forecasts

Cargo is loaded onto the main deck of a freighter at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). Photo: AMS

Cargo was affected particularly strongly by global economic uncertainty and trade tensions in 2019, but next year could be better, said the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) CEO during a media event on Wednesday.

A report released concurrently by IATA confirms that the industry group expects the slowdown that dominated world trade during 2019 to “bottom out” and for global GDP growth to improve moderately during 2020. Overall, the benefits of resumed growth are expected to translate into a net profit of US$29.3 billion for the global airline industry in 2020, up from the $25.9 billion expected in 2019.

While much of the improved performance is expected to stem from stronger passenger demand in 2020, cargo operations are also forecast to grow next year. IATA expects freight tonnes carried to increase by 2.0% from 2019 to 62.4 million tonnes.

This year was the first since 2012 that cargo traffic contracted year-over-year, with a forecasted decline of 3.3%, the sharpest drop since 2009. Despite the expectation that volumes carried will rebound slightly in 2020, IATA expects “yields will continue to slide with a 3.0% decline forecast for 2020, an improvement from a [forecasted] 5.0% decline in 2019.”

IATA’s CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, noted that more information on IATA’s outlook for cargo operations in 2020 is expected tomorrow.

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