U.S. Airlines Carried 12% More Cargo in November 2020

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U.S. airlines carried 12% more cargo by weight in November 2020 (preliminary) than in November 2019. The rise was fueled by gains of 13% in domestic cargo and 10% in international cargo, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 14 of the leading U.S. cargo airlines.

Graph - U.S. Airline Cargo November 2020

U.S. Airlines Carried 12% More Cargo in November 2020

Bureau of Transportation Statistics;

U.S. airlines carried 12% more cargo by weight in November 2020 (preliminary) than in November 2019.  The rise was fueled by gains of 13% in domestic cargo and 10% in international cargo, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 14 of the leading U.S. cargo airlines.

The 14 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.

November 2020 (preliminary) air cargo numbers for 14 U.S. carriers:

Total: 1,644 thousand tons, up 12.4% from November 2019 (1,463T tons) Domestic: 1,202 thousand tons, up 13.2% from November 2019 (1,062T tons) International: 442 thousand tons, up 10.2% from November 2019 (401T tons)

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

Systemwide Cargo (Domestic + International)

November 2020 cargo:  1,644T tons

Change from November 2019:  +12.4%

Change from October 2020:  -4.9%

Recent high: July 2020 (1,699T tons)

Recent low: February 2020 (1,297T tons)

Table 1: Systemwide Percent Change in U.S. 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 6.5 10.6 4.9 -1.4
February 6.2 9.3 -0.4 -0.4
March 8.0 5.7 -0.3 -1.4
April 2.5 5.7 4.5 -1.3
May 11.0 9.0 3.1 1.2
June 6.9 5.6 -1.2 9.5
July 7.2 6.6 3.6 12.8
August 10.4 4.8 0.2 5.7
September 4.7 4.9 -4.5 18.6
October 11.1 5.7 -1.2 13.0
November* 10.8 -0.7 -2.2 12.4
December 5.5 0.2 0.7  
Jan - Nov 7.8 6.0 0.5 6.3
Annual 7.6 5.4 0.5 -3.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* November 2020 data is preliminary

Domestic Cargo

November 2020 cargo:  1,202T tons

Change from November 2019:  13.2%

Change from October 2020:  -6.8%

Recent high: July 2020 (1,282T tons)

Recent low: February 2020 (977T tons)

Domestic as percent of total cargo November 2019:  72.6%

Domestic as percent of total cargo November 2020:  73.1%

Table 2: Domestic Percent Change in U.S. 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 10.3 6.2 0.5
February 4.9 9.0 0.7 1.9
March 7.0 3.9 -0.2 3.4
April 1.3 4.9 8.2 3.8
May 10.7 9.0 4.6 4.7
June 5.2 4.6 0.7 13.3
July 5.2 6.7 6.7 15.8
August 9.7 4.7 0.2 7.2
September 3.3 4.1 -2.8 21.7
October 11.1 6.1 1.7 14.3
November* 11.4 -0.4 -1.6 13.2
December 4.7 0.1 4.6  
Jan - Nov 6.8 5.6 2.1 9.1
Annual 6.6 5.0 2.4 -1.3

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

* November 2020 data is preliminary

International Cargo

November 2020 cargo:  442T tons

Change from November 2019:  10.2%

Change from October 2020:  +0.8%

Recent high: November 2020 (442T tons)

Recent low: February 2020 (319T tons)

International as percent of total cargo November 2019:  27.4%

International as percent of total cargo November 2020:  26.9%

Table 3: International Percent Change in U.S. 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 11.9 11.3 1.5 -6.7
February 9.8 10.2 -3.4 -6.7
March 10.7 10.6 -0.5 -13.6
April 5.8 7.7 -4.5 -15.4
May 11.9 8.9 -1.0 -8.4
June 11.7 8.4 -5.7 -0.7
July 12.5 6.5 -4.1 4.5
August 12.4 5.2 0.1 1.6
September 8.4 6.8 -8.8 10.5
October 11.2 4.6 -8.7 9.5
November* 9.1 -1.5 -3.7 10.2
December 8.1 0.4 -10.7  
Jan Nov 10.4 6.9 -3.6 -1.3
Annual 10.2 6.4 -4.2 -9.0

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

* November 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 14 U.S. airlines as of Jan. 8.

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