February 2020: WorldACD Provisional Data
Corona-virus hits air cargo, but the month shows some positive developments as well

March 11, 2020

As we said ten days ago, when presenting the January results, the first quarter of 2020 would be an extraordinary period for air cargo. We are able to show you today the provisional February data (see text box below). They are indeed extraordinary, but in a manner different from what we expected. Instead of bringing us gloom and doom only, February also surprised with unexpected positive figures.

Background Information on WorldACD’s PROVISIONAL DATA

The quality of data increases with three elements: know-how & experience of the data provider,  scope & quality of the underlying inputs (number/size of parties reporting) and time lapsed since the reporting period (different parties have different moments at which their data can be considered reliable). Thus, the earlier the outputs are provided, the more likely they may be subject to revision.

Yet, there is a growing thirst for getting market information as early as possible. Thanks to the co-operation in the past 9 days of some 60 airlines, together representing 80% of the total worldwide business in our database, WorldACD is pleased to provide PROVISIONAL DATA for February.

Our very broad inputs base, combined with our know-how and experience, enables us to provide our subscribers today with a provisional February-view for more than 1500 country pairs.
A few days ago - in an article promoting weekly data - an air cargo periodical stated that “the broad sketch provided by monthly data […] fails to reveal trends in detail”. Actually, the opposite is true.

Looking at February in isolation leads to an incomplete picture of the state of air cargo. To properly take into account the effects of Chinese New Year (CNY) on our year-over-year figures, one should look at the combined data for January & February. Having thus “neutralized” the CNY-effect on the individual monthly data, the results shown could well be called the Corona-effect, even though this only started to play a role in February…. Anyway, here we go, based on what we know today, first for Jan/Feb combined.

Worldwide air cargo fell by 2.7% in the first two months of 2020. For the larger origins, the figures were quite dissimilar: not surprisingly, China and North East Asia (incl Hong Kong) were hardest hit, with YoY drops of 7.3 % resp. 7.8%. USA was almost neutral, but Western Europe lost 5%. The surprises came from South America (+6.8%), Eastern Europe (+4.3%) and South East Asia (+2.3%). More than half of the 150 countries in our database showed growth.

For February by itself, overall volume was roughly the same YoY, but revenues (in USD) were 5.4% lower. From Asia Pacific to Europe, revenues were down by 22% YoY (to North America by 14.4% YoY). However, revenues within Asia Pacific were up by 12% YoY. Outbound China (-26%) showed large differences per region: the North and the Centre lost around 50% YoY, but the South gained 19%. Last year, cargo volumes from China started picking up roughly 7 days after CNY. This year, we observe volumes did not start picking up until 17 days after CNY, and with a much slower build-up.

Yield developments made for the most interesting reading: from all major areas to Asia Pacific, yields in February (in USD) were much higher than in January: from Europe by 31%, from North America by 19%, from MESA by 24%, from Africa by 18%, and from Latin America by 25%. And yet, the overall worldwide yield dropped by 2% MoM....

Full February data will be available in two weeks’ time.