Falling 10.6% year-on-year in 2020, the global air cargo demand posted the largest decline since data is started to be monitored in 1990, a leading trade group said on Wednesday.

The figure which is measured in cargo ton-kilometers outpaced the 6% fall in global trade in goods, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement.

IATA data showed that global capacity shrank more than double the contraction in demand, falling 23.3% last year.

The lack of available capacity resulted in cargo load factors climbing 7.7% on annual basis in 2020.

“This contributed to increased yields and revenues, providing support to airlines and some long-haul passenger services in the face of collapsed passenger revenues,” read the statement.

Air cargo is surviving the crisis in better shape than the passenger side of the business, said Alexandre de Juniac, the group’s CEO.

Noting that the air cargo became a vital source of revenues in 2020, Juniac said meeting demand without belly capacity continues to be an enormous challenge with much of the passenger fleet grounded.

Juniac is pessimistic about the passenger demand or the capacity crunch improvement this year as countries strengthen travel restrictions in the face of new coronavirus variants.

“2021 will be another tough year,” he said.

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