U.S. International Air Cargo Fell 6% in August 2020 from August 2019 While U.S.-Asia Cargo Rose 11%

U.S. and foreign airlines carried 5.9% less cargo by weight (preliminary) between the U.S. and foreign points in August 2020 than in August 2019, despite a 10.5% rise in cargo between the U.S. and Asia, according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 33 large air carriers. The decline in August was larger than the 3.8% (revised) drop from July 2019 to July 2020.

The total to and from the U.S. includes world areas that are not shown separately.

Air cargo reports are filed monthly with BTS. August 2020 numbers in this release are preliminary with final data to be released on Nov. 13. Cargo data in this release are limited to shipments between U.S. and foreign points. Due to confidentiality requirements, public access to international origin and destination data of U.S. and foreign air carriers is restricted for a period of six months from the data date. Complete international data will be released on Feb. 11. Numbers in this release are based on world area codes.

Total Air Cargo to and from the U.S.

August 2020 cargo: 703 thousand tons

August 2019 cargo: 747 thousand tons

Change from August 2019: -5.9%

Recent high: July 2020 (1,045 thousand tons)

Recent low: February 2020 (781 thousand tons)

Largest regional annual increase: Asia, up 10.5%

Largest regional annual decrease: Europe, down 26.3%

Table 1: Total Cargo to and from the U.S.: Percent Change from the Same Month of the Previous Year 2016-2020

Change in Weight of Cargo on U.S. and Foreign Airlines

Cargo = Freight + Mail

Year-to-Year Percent Change

  2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
January 8.5 13.8 -2.2 -5.4
February 8.0 13.6 -5.4 -7.0
March 10.2 11.6 -1.9 -17.0
April 7.1 11.6 -8.2 -16.5
May 12.5 11.3 -6.2 -13.7
June 12.1 8.6 -6.8 -10.1
July 13.5 3.2 -6.6 -3.8
August 13.6 5.1 -2.9 -5.9*
September 10.0 5.7 -7.7  
October 12.2 2.0 -8.4  
November 17.9 -9.4 -0.2  
Decemeber 14.1 -1.7 -8.1  
Annual 11.8 5.7 -5.4  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market (All Carriers)

* August 2020 data is preliminary

See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for year-to-year changes since 2017 for Europe, Latin America, Asia (including China), China and Canada. 

Europe  

August 2020 cargo: 165 thousand tons

August 2019 cargo: 223 thousand tons

Change from August 2019: -26.3%

Percent of August 2020 total international air cargo: 23.4%

Latin America

August 2020 cargo: 79 thousand tons

August 2019 cargo: 90 thousand tons

Change from August 2019: -12.7%

Percent of August 2020 total international air cargo: 11.2%

Asia (including China)

August 2020 cargo: 403 thousand tons

August 2019 cargo: 364 thousand tons

Change from August 2019: +10.5%

Percent of August 2020 total international air cargo: 57.3%

China

August 2020 cargo: 90 thousand tons

August 2019 cargo: 88 thousand tons

Change from August 2019: +2.4%

Percent of August 2020 total international air cargo: 12.8%

China to U.S.: 86.2%

U.S. to China: 13.8%

Canada

August 2020 cargo: 23.2 thousand tons

August 2019 cargo: 23.0 thousand tons

Change from August 2019: +1.2%

Percent of August 2020 total international air cargo: 3.3%

Canada to U.S.: 39.7%

U.S. to Canada: 60.3%

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial U.S. air carriers detailing operations, passenger traffic and cargo traffic. This release includes data received by BTS from 33 U.S. and foreign airlines as of Oct. 14.