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KUALA LUMPUR: Global air cargo markets showed slower growth in November 2021 with demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) increasing 3.7% compared with November 2019, which posted a 4.2% growth for international operations.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this was significantly lower than the 8.2% growth recorded in October 2021 and in previous months.

It said capacity was 7.6% below November 2019 and was relatively unchanged from October.

‘’Capacity remains constrained with bottlenecks at key hubs,’’ it said in a statement yesterday.

IATA said supply chain disruptions are slowing growth, despite economic conditions continuing to support the air cargo market.

Labour shortages, partly due to employees being in quarantine, insufficient storage space at some airports and processing backlogs exacerbated by the year-end rush created supply chain disruptions.

It added that several key airports, including New York’s John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles and Amsterdam Schiphol reported congestion.

“Air cargo growth was halved in November compared to October because of supply chain disruptions.

“All economic indicators pointed towards continued strong demand, but the pressures of labour shortages and constraints across the logistics system unexpectedly resulted in lost growth opportunities,’’ IATA director general Willie Walsh said.

Hence, he said governments must act quickly to relieve pressure on global supply chains before it permanently dents the shape of the economic recovery from Covid-19.

“To relieve supply chain disruptions in the air cargo industry, IATA is calling on governments to ensure that air crew operations are not hindered by Covid-19 restrictions designed for air travellers,’’ he said, adding it hoped governments can provide innovative policy incentives to address labour shortages where they exist.

Policymakers also need to implement the commitments governments made at the International Civil Aviation Organisation High Level Conference on Covid-19 to restore international connectivity, including for passenger travel.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific airlines’ international air cargo volumes went up 5.2% in November 2021 compared with the same month in 2019.

This was only slightly below the previous month’s 5.9% expansion, while international capacity in the region eased 9.5% in November compared with 2019.

Meanwhile, North American carriers posted an 11.4% increase in international cargo volumes in November 2021 compared with November 2019.

However, this was below October’s performance of 20.3%, while international capacity was down 0.1% compared with November 2019.

European airlines saw a 0.3% improvement in international cargo volumes in November 2021 compared with the same month in 2019, but this was a significant drop in performance compared with October 2021’s 7.1%.

International capacity was down 9.9% in November 2021 compared with pre-crisis levels and capacity on the key Europe-Asia route was down 7.3% during the same period.

In the Middle East, carriers experienced a 3.4% increase in international cargo volumes in November 2021, a significant drop in performance compared to the previous month.

African airlines’ international cargo volumes rose by 0.8% in November, a significant deterioration from the previous month’s 9.8%. International capacity was 5.2% lower than pre-crisis levels.

Latin American carriers registered a decline of 13.6% in international cargo volumes in November compared to the 2019 period.

This was the weakest performance of all regions and a significant deterioration from the previous month’s performance of -5.6%. Capacity in November was down 20.1% on pre-crisis levels. – Bernama

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