(Updated April 3, 2020)
- Worldwide capacity still falling. Global capacity is down 22% vs. last year, and additional declines are expected, according to Seabury. On a trade lane level, there is no longer any significant difference between capacity in/out of Asia and capacity in other regions.
- Belly capacity declining, freighter capacity rising. Global belly capacity is 35% of what it was in January and still falling because of air travel restrictions and closed borders. Increases in freighter capacity are not sufficient to offset the loss of belly capacity. The current decline in belly capacity is equivalent to capacity of 400 Boeing 747-8 freighters a day, Seabury says.
- Belly capacity declines last week were sharpest in Asia, Middle East. But lanes that traditionally rely most on belly capacity – Transatlantic (Europe-US) and Intra-Asia – have seen the sharpest declines in overall capacity.
- Freighters now 75% of capacity along all trade lanes. Freighter capacity on Europe/US lanes has doubled since imposition of latest US travel restrictions and reached 80% of air cargo capacity on those routes last week. Nearly all major international airports seeing increases in freighter capacity.
- Outbound China capacity is increasing. Freighter flights are increasing and above 2019 levels, despite continued constraints on belly capacity.
- Canada is closing its borders to non-citizens. Only four Canadian airports will accept international flights.
- Latin America: Argentina has closed borders for two weeks beginning March 15, Chile has closed border to all foreigners starting on March 18, Peru has declared a state of emergency and closed borders starting on March 16, Colombia bans all new arrivals for a period of one month starting March 23. Brazil has sealed its borders to nine neighboring countries.
- USA: US passenger travel restrictions from Europe have widened to include UK and Ireland. The US closed its border to non-essential travel with Mexico starting on March 21.
- North Americas-Europe: Significant capacity reductions in both directions. Space is available with constraints; no transit time guarantees.
- North America-Asia: Capacity still constrained. Freighter schedules from the US are still inconsistent, but are ramping up and getting back to normal. Capacity constraints in Asian transit hubs remains to destination without direct flight options from the Americas.
- North America- Middle East and Indian subcontinent: Significant capacity in both directions. Broad travel restrictions are reducing capacity to freighters only.
- Latin America – Europe: Significant capacity reductions in both directions. Space is available with constraints; no transit time guarantees.
- Latin America-Asia: Significant capacity reductions. In-transit though the US also subject to the same constraints as Americas-Asia trades.
- Latin-America-USA: Capacity constrained. Significant passenger capacity reduction, but added cargo capacity via freighters.
- Intra-Latin America: Significant capacity restrictions, because of passenger flight reductions. Broad travel restrictions are reducing capacity to freighters only, mostly served through Miami.
- Australasia: Australia and New Zealand have announced that borders are closed to all visitors from March 20.
- China: New restrictions in China restrict Chinese airline carriers to only flying 1 route per week to/from China to all other countries. Foreign carriers may only fly to China once a week, irrespective of the origin point.
- East Asia: Hong Kong imposed self-isolation requirements for all visitors for 14 days starting on March 19, and is considering mandatory quarantine for all new arrivals. Taiwan has banned entry for most foreigners, and is requiring two weeks of self-isolation for all arrivals.
- India: With India announcing a total lockdown for three weeks starting March 25, and all domestic and international flights halted, we are seeing a significant impact on airport operations and a high number of freighter cancellations because of restrictions on manpower.
- Pakistan: International passenger flights were suspended on March 24 as all provinces went into government-mandated lockdown.
- Southeast Asia: Significant capacity constraints on already squeezed intra-Asian trade lanes, due to a number of new restrictions in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Singapore announced that as of March 22, short-term visitors and transits through Singapore would be halted. Malaysia has extended its lockdown and air border closure to visitors through April 14. Vietnam announced on March 21 that it would halt inbound international flights, and Thailand closed all sea, air and land borders on March 25.
- Declines on all Asia routes: Wide-body capacity decreases have taken place across all routes to and from Asia-Pacific, according to Seabury.
- Declines at all key cargo airports: All major Asian airports are showing declines in cargo capacity. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing show the largest declines in cargo capacity.
- Continued pressure on China outbound and inbound, but with some signs of recovery: Outbound air freight capacity is under tremendous pressure among all mainland China export markets as production resumes and passenger flight cancellations are sustained. A trend of ocean-to-air conversions exacerbates pressure on capacity outbound China. However, more freighters are entering the market.
- Customers may want to explore alternative transport models (Sea/Air option or Cross-border truck).
- Inbound capacity constraints from Europe, the Americas and the Middle East continue as all regions have reduced passenger operations to China.
- Unprecedented rate surge on intra-Asian lanes: Massive capacity reduction resulting from passenger flight and freighter cancellations. Air freight rates on Intra-Asia lanes are extremely high, volatile and have been increasing rapidly, which are in turn constraining the long-haul export capacity to both Europe and US.
- Hong Kong: Intra-Asia lanes are experiencing heavy congestion from South China, but the export market from Hong Kong to Europe and US is picking up gradually. We have seen a sharp increase in rates to both Europe and US triggered by new entry restrictions; charter rates have surged.
- From March 17 for at least 30 days, the EU has closed off 26 countries – with a combined population of more than 400 million people – to nearly all visitors from the rest of the world.
- Turkey: Turkey has halted international passenger flights as of March 27, with exceptions for only five routes.
- Russia: Russia closed all borders as of March 30.
- Europe – US: Capacity shortages and considerable increases to spot price rates. Space available with constraints.
- Europe – China: Significant capacity constraints and surge in rates.
- Europe – South East Asia: Significant capacity constraints in Europe- South East Asia trades due to the reduction in passenger flights. Rates are soaring.
- Europe-Middle East: Significant capacity constraints and high rates.
Middle East & Africa
- Arabian Gulf and the Levant: Passenger flights have been halted to and from Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (although flights are still transiting through Doha). The UAE also suspended passenger flights for two weeks starting March 25.
- There are no restrictions on cargo movement, and freighters continue to fly across the Arabian Gulf.
- Oman: Oman closed its airports to all passenger aircraft on March 29. Freighter operations remained normal.
- Iraq: Basra airport operations, for both cargo and passengers, will be on hold until March 25. Baghdad airport operations, for both cargo and passengers, will be on hold until March 25. Najaf airport is closed. Iraq has also partially stopped truck movements at certain border crossings with Turkey.
- North Africa: Egypt has suspended flights from all airports until March 31, following a similar move by Morocco, which also closed land borders with Spain. Algeria has suspended air and sea travel with Europe from March 19. Tunisia also closed its land borders and suspended international flights on March 16.
- Southern Africa: Travel restrictions are widening across Africa. Angola will halt international flights for two weeks from March 20. In South Africa, all national and international commercial flights have been terminated. Currently only “essential items” of food, cleaning and hygiene products, and medical supplies are being moved by air freight
- West Africa: Ghana has closed all borders starting March 23, Nigeria closed all borders starting March 23.
- East Africa: Kenya has halted all international incoming and outgoing passenger flights as of March 26. Uganda closed its border as of March 23. Rwanda has also closed its borders to all passenger flights. For both countries, cargo services will continue.
- Carriers are operating scheduled freighters, but cargo is also moving on an adhoc / unscheduled freighter or charter basis.
- Some passenger aircraft from the region’s largest carriers are now being converted into temporary freighters; flying with no passengers on board but with cargo in the hold.
- Committed capacity can no longer be guaranteed; suspension of all contractual rates and tariffs
- Rates for charters have doubled, and in many cases, are higher than that
- Air freight rates have reached unprecedented levels. Premiums must be paid to get cargo uplifted on a priority basis.