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Air Cargo Down 21% Between the U.S. and Foreign Points, April 2020 (Preliminary)

Release Number: 
BTS 41-20
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2020
 

U.S. and foreign airlines carried 21% less cargo by weight between the U.S. and foreign points in April 2020 than in April 2019, including a 44% decline in cargo between the U.S. and Europe, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by large air carriers.

April 2020 (preliminary) cargo numbers to and from the U.S. by world geographic areas (by weight):

  • Total to and from the U.S.: 651 thousand tons, down 21.0% from April 2019 (810T tons)
  • Europe: 117 thousand tons, down 43.8% from April 2019 (209T tons)
  • Latin America: 114 thousand tons, up 4.1% from April 2019 (110T tons)
  • Asia (including China): 300 thousand tons, down 13.3% from April 2019 (346T tons)
  • China: 78 thousand tons, down 8.6% from April 2019 (85T tons)
  • Canada: 19 thousand tons, down 10.5% from April 2019 (21T tons)

The total to and from the U.S. includes world areas that are not shown separately.

Air cargo reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final April data will be released on July 16. Cargo data in this release are limited to shipments between the U.S. and foreign points. Due to confidentiality requirements, public access to international origin and destination data of U.S. and foreign air carriers is restricted for a period of six months from the data date. Complete international data will be released on Oct. 16. Numbers in this release are based on world area codes and have been revised from previous releases which were based on carrier regions.

Total Cargo to and from the U.S.

The 21.0% decline (preliminary) in the weight of cargo carried on U.S. and foreign airlines between the U.S. and foreign points between April 2019 and April 2020 would be the largest year-to-year decline of the 18 consecutive monthly decreases since November 2018.

 
Table 1: Total Cargo to and from the U.S.: Percent Change from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2016-2020
Change in Weight of Cargo on U.S. and Foreign Airlines
Cargo = Freight + Mail
Year-to-Year Percent Change
 
 
2016-2017
2017-2018
2018-2019
2019-2020
January
8.5
13.8
-2.2
-5.4
February
8.0
13.6
-5.4
-7.0
March
10.2
11.6
-1.9
-17.0
April
7.1
11.6
-8.2
-21.0*
May
12.5
11.3
-6.2
 
June
12.1
8.6
-6.8
 
July
13.5
3.2
-6.6
 
August
13.6
5.1
-2.9
 
September
10.0
5.7
-7.7
 
October
12.2
2.0
-8.4
 
November
17.9
-9.4
-0.2
 
December
14.1 
-1.7
-8.1
 
Annual
11.8
5.7
-5.4
 
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market (All Carriers)
* April 2020 data is preliminary
 

See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for year-to-year changes since 2017 for Europe, Latin America, Asia (including China), China and Canada. 

Europe

The weight of air cargo between the U.S. and Europe on U.S. and foreign airlines declined 43.8% (preliminary) from April 2019 to April 2020, the largest year-to-year decline in the 15 consecutive decreases since February 2019.

Latin America

The 4.1% increase (preliminary) in the weight of cargo carried on U.S. and foreign airlines between the U.S. and the Latin American region from April 2019 to April 2020 would be the first year-to-year rise following three months of decreases.

Asia (including China)

The weight of cargo carried on U.S. and foreign airlines between the U.S. and Asia declined 13.3% (preliminary) from April 2019 to April 2020, narrowing from the 16.3% year-to-year decline in February. April 2020 would be the eighth consecutive year-to-year decline in U.S.-Asia air cargo.

China

The weight of cargo carried on U.S. and foreign airlines between the U.S. and China declined 8.6% (preliminary) from April 2019 to April 2020, a smaller year-to-year decline than 24.8% in February. April 2020 would be the fifth consecutive year-to-year decline in U.S.-China air cargo shipments. During April 2020, 84.0% of the freight was flown from China to the U.S. while 16.0% was carried from the U.S. to China.

Canada

The 10.5% (preliminary) year-to-year decline in the weight of cargo carried on U.S. and foreign airlines between the U.S. and Canada was third consecutive year-to-year decrease. The decrease followed five consecutive monthly increases. During April 2020, 42.3% of the cargo was flown from Canada to the U.S. while 57.7% was carried from the U.S. to Canada.

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and cargo traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 33 U.S. and foreign airlines as of June 11.

See the BTS Airlines and Airports page for additional U.S. airlines numbers through March for U.S. airlines. International data by origin and destination is available through December.

BTS has scheduled July 16 for the release of final data through April.

None of the data are from samples. Measures of statistical significance do not apply to the complete air traffic data.

Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2020