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New Delhi: Global demand for air cargo rose 12% year-on-year in April due to strong demand for cargo services during the pandemic, global airlines body The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

"The strong performance was led by North American carriers contributing 7.5 percentage points to the 12% growth rate in April. Airlines in all other regions except for Latin America also supported the growth," IATA said in the statement.

"Capacity remains 9.7% below pre-COVID-19 levels (April 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Airlines continue to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly capacity. International capacity from dedicated freighters rose 26.2% in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, while belly-cargo capacity dropped by 38.5%," it added.

According to IATA estimates, during 2022, global air passenger traffic is expected to recover to 88% of pre-covid levels or traffic seen in 2019 before the pandemic, and is expected to surpass this level during 2023.

Meanwhile, during 2021 global air passenger numbers are expected to recover to 52% of pre-covid levels (2019).

“Air cargo continues to be the good news story for the air transport sector. Demand is up 12% on pre-crisis levels and yields are solid. Some regions are outperforming the global trend, most notably carriers in North America, the Middle East and Africa," said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

"Strong air cargo performance, however, is not universal. The recovery for carriers in the Latin American region, for example, is stalled," he added.

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