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

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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.

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

 
December 5.6 0.3 0.7  
Jan-Aug 7.2 7.1 1.8 3.1
Annual 7.4 5.4 0.6  

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
Annual 9.4 6.5 -3.8  

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

* August 2020 data is preliminary

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