New Delhi: The International Air Transport Association today said the airline cargo industry was facing a severe and immediate capacity crunch to meet demand due to uncertainties surrounding the lockdown of airports in many countries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"At present, we don't have enough capacity to meet the remaining demand for air cargo. Volumes fell by over 15% in March compared to the previous year. But capacity plummeted by almost 23%.
The gap must be addressed quickly because vital supplies must get to where they are needed most," IATA's Director General and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac said in a press release.
IATA said that air cargo, measured in tn-km, fell 15% in March compared to the same month a year earlier as the coronavirus pandemic triggered travel restrictions. Air cargo could fall 14-31% in 2020 as a recession takes hold, IATA said.
The association also said that while the fall in air traffic capacity was due to the grounding of passenger fleet due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the demand for air traffic, although lower than last year, had risen in March, especially for essential products such as pharmaceuticals.