The Fact News Service

Global air cargo demand drops over Russia-Ukraine war, Omicron concerns

New Delhi, May 4

A decline in global air cargo markets was witnessed in March, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data showed amid COVID variant Omicron’s influence in Asia and the Russia-Ukraine war that is leading to a challenging operational background.

“The war in Ukraine led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. Sanctions against Russia led to disruptions in manufacturing. And rising oil prices are having a negative economic impact, including raising costs for shipping,” IATA said.

The effects of Omicron in Asia, the Russia-Ukraine war and a challenging operating backdrop contributed to the decline. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs*), fell 5.2 per cent compared to March 2021 (-5.4 per cent for international operations).

“Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell 5.2 per cent compared to March 2021 (-5.4 per cent for international operations). Capacity was 1.2 per cent above March 2021 (+2.6 per cent for international operations). While this is in positive territory, it is a significant decline from the 11.2 per cent year-on-year increase in February. Asia and Europe experienced the largest falls in capacity,” IATA data read.

Global commodity trade continues to decline in 2022, with China’s economy growing more slowly due to COVID-19 related lockdowns (among other factors); And the disruption in the supply chain was exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. General consumer price inflation for the G7 countries in February 2022 was 6.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis, the highest since 1982.

“Air cargo markets mirror global economic developments. In March, the trading environment took a turn for the worse. The combination of war in Ukraine and the spread of the Omicron variant in Asia have led to rising energy costs, exacerbated supply chain disruptions, and fed inflationary pressure. As a result, compared to a year ago, there are fewer goods being shipped–including by air,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General.

“Peace in Ukraine and a shift in China’s COVID-19 policy would do much to ease the industry’s headwinds. As neither appears likely in the short-term, we can expect growing challenges for air cargo just as passenger markets are accelerating their recovery,” he added.