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U.S. Airlines Carried 6% More Cargo in August 2020 than August 2019

Release Number: 
BTS 69-20
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020

U.S. airlines carried 6% more cargo by weight in August 2020 (preliminary) than in August 2019. The rise was fueled by a gain of 8% in domestic cargo with a 1% rise in international cargo, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 13 of the leading cargo airlines.

The 13 airlines carry 95% of the total cargo by weight on U.S. airlines. Cargo data consists of freight and mail carried within the U.S. and between the U.S. and foreign points.

August 2020 (preliminary) air cargo numbers for 13 U.S. carriers:

  • Total: 1,511 thousand tons, up 6.2% from August 2019 (1,423T tons)
  • Domestic: 1,146 thousand tons, up 8.0% from August 2019 (1,061T tons)
  • International: 366 thousand tons, up 0.9% from August 2019 (362T tons)

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final August data will be released on Nov. 13.  Complete international data by origin and destination, which is under a six-month confidentiality restriction, will be released on Feb. 11.

Systemwide Cargo (Domestic + International)
August 2020 cargo: 1,511 thousand tons
Change from August 2019: +6%
Change from July 2020: -11%
Recent high: July 2020 (1,699 thousand tons)
Recent low: April 2020 (1,444 thousand tons)
 
 
Table 1: Systemwide Percent Change in US Airlines Cargo by Weight from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2016-2020
Cargo = Freight + Mail
Year-to-Year Percent Change
 2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January
6.4
10.5
5.1
-0.5
February
6.1
9.2
-0.3
-0.1
March
8.0
5.8
-0.2
-1.6
April
2.6
5.9
4.4
-1.9
May
10.8
9.0
3.1
0.9
June
6.8
5.5
-1.1
9.1
July
6.9
6.7
3.5
12.5
August
9.7
5.0
0.2
6.2*
September
4.3
5.0
-4.4
 
October
10.6
5.5
-1.2
 
November
10.6
-0.6
-2.3
 
December5.60.30.7 
Jan-Aug7.27.11.83.1
Annual7.45.40.6 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* August 2020 data is preliminary

Domestic Cargo
August 2020 cargo: 1,146 thousand tons
Change from August 2019: +8%
Change from July 2020: -11%
Recent high: October 2018 (447 thousand tons)
Recent low: February 2020 (319 thousand tons)
Domestic as percent of total cargo August 2019: 74.5%
Domestic as percent of total cargo August 2020: 75.8%
 
 
Table 2: Domestic Percent Change in US Airlines Cargo by Weight from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2016-2020
Domestic cargo has a U.S. origin and U.S. destination
Cargo = Freight + Mail
Year-to-Year Percent Change
 
 2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January
4.6
10.4
6.1
2.8
February
4.9
8.7
0.7
2.2
March
7.1
4.0
-0.4
3.1
April
1.5
4.9
7.7
3.1
May
10.8
8.9
4.5
4.2
June
5.4
4.5
0.5
12.7
July
5.2
6.7
6.2
15.3
August
9.4
4.8
0.1
8.0*
September
3.3
4.3
-2.9
 
October
11.1
5.7
1.8
 
November
11.3
-0.1
-1.8
 
December
5.1
0.1
4.5
 
Jan-Aug
6.2
6.5
3.1
6.5
Annual
6.7
5.0
2.2
 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

* August 2020 data is preliminary

International Cargo
August 2020 cargo: 366 thousand tons
Change from August 2019: +1%
Change from July 2020: -12%
Recent high: July 2020 (1,282 thousand tons)
Recent low: February 2020 (977 thousand tons)
International as percent of total cargo August 2019: 25.5%
International as percent of total cargo August 2020: 24.2%
 
Table 3: International Percent Change in US Airlines Cargo by Weight from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2016-2020
International cargo on a U.S. airline is carried between a U.S. airport and a foreign airport.
Cargo = Freight + Mail
Year-to-Year Percent Change
 
 2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January
11.4
10.6
2.2
-9.8
February
9.6
10.4
-3.1
-6.3
March
10.5
10.7
0.4
-13.9
April
5.3
8.2
-3.9
-15.7
May
11.0
9.2
-0.6
-8.3
June
10.8
8.2
-5.2
-0.6
July
11.3
6.7
-3.6
4.6
August
10.6
5.6
0.4
0.9*
September
7.2
7.0
-8.3
 
October
9.4
5.0
-8.7
 
November
8.8
-1.8
-3.5
 
December
7.2
0.9
-10.6
 
Jan-Aug
10.0
8.6
-1.7
-6.3
Annual9.46.5-3.8 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* August 2020 data is preliminary

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and freight traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 13 U.S. airlines as of Oct. 7.

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

None of the data are from samples. Measures of statistical significance do not apply to the complete air traffic da
 
 
 
 
Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2020