Air freight slumps to lowest levels since 2009 recession

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Last year saw the worst drop in air cargo volumes for ten years, falling 3.3% in freight tonne kms year-on-year, according to the latest figures from IATA.

Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kms, rose 2.1% in 2019, but the year was marked by the first annual fall in freight volumes since 2012.

For December 2019, global cargo volumes fell 2.7%, while capacity rose 2.8%, and in Europe, volumes fell 1.8%, while capacity grew 3.4%.

European airlines experienced a 1.1% year-on-year decrease in freight tonne kms in December, but capacity rose 4.9%.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and chief executive, said: “Trade tensions are at the root of the worst year for air cargo since the end of the global financial crisis in 2009. While these are easing, there is little relief in that good news as we are in unknown territory with respect to the eventual impact of the coronavirus on the global economy.

“With all the restrictions being put in place, it will certainly be a drag on economic growth.

“And, for sure, 2020 will be another challenging year for the air cargo business.”

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