In the third month of the year, the coronavirus became a harsh reality in the United States. As COVID-19 began sweeping through the country, the government introduced restrictions, businesses scaled back and schools prepared for remote learning.
Belly Capacity & Passenger Flights
Concerning the air cargo industry, the challenging times continued. Following suit with the previous month, March saw a drop in belly capacity – a decline of 23%! As a result of this contraction, total CTKs* dropped by double digits when compared to the previous year.
Some airlines repurposed passenger aircraft to transport cargo amidst passenger flight cancellations. Though this effort was able to soften capacity shortages, the decline still dealt a heavy blow to the industry.
In what was an entirely unprecedented decline, the industry-wide CTKs fell by a massive 15.2% year-on-year. Continued shutdowns of factories and manufacturing facilities threw the global supply chain into total disarray.
This double-digit drop was experienced everywhere in the world besides Africa, whose struggle was more subtle at the time.
By the end of March, COVID-19 had become a global crisis, wreaking havoc in a multitude of ways. Frightened individuals prepared for the worst by emptying shelves of hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Meanwhile, the transportation industry hunkered down with the light at the end of the tunnel yet to be seen.
*CTKs – Cargo Tonne Kilometers