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Cargo revenues for global airlines are expected to rise to a record $175 billion in 2021 with a marginal decline to $169 billion in 2022, according to the  International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

Cargo yields are expected to increase by 15 percent in 2021 but are likely to decline by 8 percent in 2022. “Cargo demand is expected to exceed pre-crisis (2019) levels by 8 percent in 2021 and 13 percent in 2022,” IATA said.

Total industry losses in 2020-2022 are likely to cross $200 billion, IATA said in its statement.

“Net industry losses are expected to reduce to $11.6 billion in 2022 after a $51.8 billion loss in 2021 (worsened from the $47.7 billion loss estimated in April). Net 2020 loss estimates have been revised to $137.7 billion (from $126.4 billion).”

IATA, for the first time in history, has added cargo to its discussion rounds during the annual general meeting currently underway in Boston, U.S.  The agenda: What's Next for Air Cargo After its Heroic Performance in the COVID-19 Crisis? Speakers include Jessica Tyler, Head of Cargo, American Airlines, Don Colleran, CEO, FedEx Express, Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways and Brandon Fried, Executive Director, Airforwarders Association. 

Also Read: IATA annual meet debates cargo future; Qatar Airways double cargo earnings in 2020-21

Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA said airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted business to whatever opportunities were available. “That will see the $137.7 billion loss of 2020 reduce to $52 billion this year. And that will further reduce to $12 billion in 2022. We are well past the deepest point of the crisis. While serious issues remain, the path to recovery is coming into view. Aviation is demonstrating its resilience yet again.”

Regional performance outlook

North America carriers are likely to be the strongest performers, and are expected to see a $5.5 billion loss in 2021 transform to a $9.9 billion profit in 2022. “All other regions will see reduced losses in 2022 compared to 2021.”

Asia-Pacific carriers are likely to see losses diminish from $11.2 billion in 2021 to $2.4 billion in 2022. “Reduced losses are expected to be achieved on the back of large and largely open domestic markets, not least of which is China. The region’s carriers are also benefiting disproportionally from the strength of air cargo markets in which they are dominant.”

African carriers are likely to see a very slow pace of recovery from a loss of $1.9 billion in 2021 to a loss of $1.5 billion in 2022. “Low vaccination rates across the continent are expected to severely dampen demand throughout 2022. The slight improvement is built on the expectation of some recovery in intra-Africa travel and travel to some tourist destinations with relatively higher vaccination rates.”

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