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Lunar New Year pulls down global airfreight traffic by 4pc

THE global air cargo market saw a four per cent year-over-year decline in the four weeks between January 6 and February 2, according to CLIVE Data Services' 'dynamic load factor' report that also fell two percentage points to 65 per cent over this period

10 February 2020 - 19:00

THE global air cargo market saw a four per cent year-over-year decline in the four weeks between January 6 and February 2, according to CLIVE Data Services' 'dynamic load factor' report that also fell two percentage points to 65 per cent over this period.

The four weeks of data reflects the influence of the Lunar New Year, according to CLIVE's press release. The company said it is also closely monitoring the impact of the new coronavirus on air freight volumes, which it expects to be 'clearly evident' in dynamic load factor data reports in the coming weeks, New York's Air Cargo World reported.



Although the four per cent yoy drop in global air cargo from January 6 to February 2 may appear to be quite a setback, relative to the growth numbers seen in the last three months of 2019, the data in more detail tells a more nuanced picture, according to CLIVE managing director Niall van de Wouw.



According to CLIVE, the Lunar New Year and the consequential slowdown in manufacturing and operations in the region dragged down overall growth by three per cent at the start of the year. This implies that the 'normalised' global market saw a decline of one per cent, the press release said.



Further data from CLIVE reveals that in the last week of January, volumes from China to Europe, relative to the same week in 2019, dropped by 66 per cent. Subsequently, the dynamic load factor of westbound flights from China decreased from to 90 to 74 per cent. The reason for the load factor not dropping further is due to airlines cutting capacity by 44 per cent relative to the same week last year.



Therefore, most of this fall in capacity was caused by a reduction of freighter services in anticipation of the weaker demand during the Lunar New Year holiday.



'While the industry traditionally anticipates lower demand during Chinese New Year, the big unknown now is the impact of the coronavirus at the start of a year where there was previously slight optimism for a modest recovery in air cargo volumes,' said Mr van de Wouw.


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