U.S. Airlines Carried 13% More Cargo in October 2020 Than in October 2019

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U.S. Airline Cargo Trends

U.S. airlines carried 13% more cargo by weight in October 2020 (preliminary) than in October 2019. The rise was fueled by gains of 14% in domestic cargo and 9% in international cargo, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 14 of the leading U.S. cargo airlines.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics;

U.S. airlines carried 13% more cargo by weight in October 2020 (preliminary) than in October 2019. The rise was fueled by gains of 14% in domestic cargo and 9% 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.

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final October data will be released on Jan. 15.  Complete international data by origin and destination, which is under a six-month confidentiality restriction, will be released on April 15.

Systemwide Cargo (Domestic + International)

October 2020 cargo: 1,697T tons

Change from October 2019: +12.7%

Change from September 2020: +1.3%

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

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

Table 1: Systemwide Percent Change in U.S. Airlines Cargo 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 -1.9
April 2.6 5.9 4.4 0.9
May 10.8 9.0 3.1 9.1
June 6.8 5.5 -1.1 12.8
July 6.9 6.7 3.5 5.3
August 9.7 5.0 0.2 18.1
September 4.3 5.0 -4.4 12.7*
October 10.6 5.5 -1.2  
November 10.6 -0.6 -2.3  
December 5.6 0.3 0.7  
Jan-Oct 7.2 6.7 0.9 5.0
Annual 7.4 5.4 0.6  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* October 2020 data is preliminary

Domestic Cargo

October 2020 cargo: 1,277T tons

Change from October 2019: +14.0%

Change from September 2020: +1.9%%

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

Recent low: February 2020 (977T tons)

Domestic as percent of total cargo October 2019: 74.4%

Domestic as percent of total cargo October 2020: 75.3%

Table 2: Domestic Percent Change in U.S. Airlines Cargo 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 15.8
August 9.4 4.8 0.1 6.6
September 3.3 4.3 -2.9 21.1
October 11.1 5.7 1.8 14.0*
November 11.3 -0.1 -1.8  
December 5.1 0.1 4.5  
Jan-Oct 6.4 6.2 2.4 8.0
Annual 6.7 5.0 2.2  

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

* October 2020 data is preliminary

International Cargo

October 2020 cargo: 420T tons

Change from October 2019: +8.7%

Change from September 2020: -0.5%

Recent high: September 2020 (422T tons)

Recent low: February 2020 (319T tons)

International as percent of total cargo October 2019: 25.6%

International as percent of total cargo October 2020: 24.7%

Table 3: International Percent Change in U.S. Airlines Cargo 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 4.5
August 10.6 5.6 0.4 1.7
September 7.2 7.0 -8.3 10.2
October 9.4 5.0 -8.7 8.7*
November 8.8 -1.8 -3.5  
December 7.2 0.9 -10.6  
Jan-Oct 9.7 8.0 -3.1 -3.6
Annual 9.4 6.5 -3.8  

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

* October 2020 data is preliminary

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