U.S. Airlines Carried 19% More Cargo in September 2020 Than in September 2019

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U.S. airlines carried 19% more cargo by weight in September 2020 (preliminary) than in September 2019. The rise was fueled by a gain of 22% in domestic cargo and a 10% rise in international cargo, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 15 of the leading U.S. cargo airlines.

U.S. airlines carried 19% more cargo by weight in September 2020 (preliminary) than in September 2019. The rise was fueled by a gain of 22% in domestic cargo and a 10% rise in international cargo, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 15 of the leading U.S. cargo airlines.

The 15 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.

September 2020 (preliminary) air cargo numbers for 15 U.S. carriers:

Total: 1,625 thousand tons, up 18.6% from September 2019 (1,370T tons) Domestic: 1,212T tons, up 21.7% from September 2019 (996T tons) International: 413Ttons, up 10.5% from September 2019 (374T tons)

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final September data will be released on Dec. 10.  Complete international data by origin and destination, which is under a six-month confidentiality restriction, will be released on March 11.

Systemwide Cargo (Domestic + International)

September 2020 cargo: 1,625T tons

Change from September 2019: +18.6%

Change from August 2020: -0.3%

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

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

Table 1: Systemwide Percent Change in U.S. Airlines Cargo 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

12.8

August

9.7

5.0

0.2

5.3

September

4.3

5.0

-4.4

18.6*

October

10.6

5.5

-1.2

 

November

10.6

-0.6

-2.3

 
December 5.6 0.3 0.7  
Jan-Sept 6.8 6.9 1.1 4.7
Annual 7.4 5.4 0.6  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* September 2020 data is preliminary

Domestic Cargo

September 2020 cargo: 1,212T tons

Change from September 2019: +21.7%

Change from August 2020: -0.4%

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

Recent low: February 2020 (977T tons)

Domestic as percent of total cargo September 2019: 72.7%

Domestic as percent of total cargo September 2020: 74.6%

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

10.4

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

21.7*

October

11.1

5.7

1.8

 

November

11.3

-0.1

-1.8

 

December

5.1

0.1

4.5

 

Jan-Sept

5.8

6.3

2.5

7.9

Annual 6.7 5.0 2.2  

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

* September 2020 data is preliminary

International Cargo

September 2020 cargo: 413T tons

Change from September 2019: +10.5%

Change from August 2020: -0.1%

Recent high: July 2020 (417T tons)

Recent low: February 2020 (319T tons)

International as percent of total cargo September 2019: 27.3%

International as percent of total cargo September 2020: 25.4%

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

11.4

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

10.5*

October

9.4

5.0

-8.7

 

November

8.8

-1.8

-3.5

 

December

7.2

0.9

-10.6

 

Jan-Sept

9.7

8.4

-2.4

-4.3

Annual 9.4 6.5 -3.8  

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

* September 2020 data is preliminary

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