IATA: The impact of Government reactions to the Omicron variant is a concern
30 Nov 2021
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released October 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that demand continued to be well above pre-crisis levels and that the capacity constraints have eased slightly.
As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons below are to October 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.
Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth but are slightly weaker than in the previous months. Several factors should be noted:
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General says, October data reflected an overall positive outlook for air cargo. Supply chain congestion continued to push manufacturers towards the speed of air cargo. Demand was up 9.4% in October compared to pre-crisis levels. And capacity constraints were slowly resolving as more passenger travel meant more belly capacity for air cargo. The impact of government reactions to the Omicron variant is a concern. If it dampens travel demand, capacity issues will become more acute. After almost two years of COVID-19, governments have the experience and tools to make better data-driven decisions than the mostly knee-jerk reactions to restrict travel that we have seen to date. Restrictions will not stop the spread of Omicron. Along with urgently reversing these policy mistakes, the focus of governments should be squarely on ensuring the integrity of supply chains and increasing the distribution of vaccines.
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