The massive drop in scheduled passenger belly capacity implemented in March and April has been a boom for freighter operators. Coupled with a surge of PPE -related shipments out of China, rates climbed to more than twice normal levels in April, even though overall airfreight volumes have declined between 20% and 30% in key markets. Some of this gap between demand and remaining supply has been picked up by aircraft configured as passenger freighters but, as utilization reveals, freighter operators have picked up the bulk of the demand.
Freighter block hours through March were on par with last year, but saw a growth of 7% in April and 11% in May compared to a year earlier. The first weeks of June also showed higher utilization levels, although not as strong as in May.
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