Global air cargo capacity constraints eased during October for the second consecutive month, but industry-wide available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs) still remain 7.2 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Global ACTKs rose 1.3 per cent month-on-month in October, driven largely by improvements in Asia Pacific and Europe regions.
The growth in capacity has been “entirely driven” by ACTKs onboard passenger aircraft, according to IATA.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), also continued its growth trend, up 9.4 per cent compared to October 2019.
IATA’s director general Willie Walsh said: “October data reflected an overall positive outlook for air cargo. Supply chain congestion continued to push manufacturers towards the speed of air cargo.
“Demand was up 9.4 per cent in October compared to pre-crisis levels. And capacity constraints were slowly resolving as more passenger travel meant more belly capacity for air cargo.”
In a statement, IATA said economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth, but are slightly weaker than in the previous months, outlining the following note-worthy factors:
- “Supply chain disruptions and the resulting delivery delays have led to long supplier delivery times. This typically results in manufacturers using air transport, which is quicker, to recover time lost during the production process. The global Supplier Delivery Time Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reached an all-time low of 34.8 in October; values below 50 are favorable for air cargo.
- “Relevant components of the October PMIs (new export orders and manufacturing output) have been in a gradual slowdown since May but remain in favorable territory.
- “The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low ahead of the peak year-end retail events such as Christmas. This is positive for air cargo as manufacturers turn to air cargo to rapidly meet demand.
- “Global goods trade and industrial production remain above pre-crisis levels.
- “The cost-competitiveness of air cargo relative to that of container shipping remains favourable.”
Commenting on potential threat of the new Covid-19 variant, Walsh added: “The impact of government restrictions to the Omicron variant is a concern. If it dampens travel demand, capacity issues will become more acute.
“After almost two years of Covid-19, governments have the experience and tools to make better data-driven decisions than the most knee-jerk reactions to restrict travel that we have seen to date.
“Restrictions will not stop the spread of Omicron. Along with urgently reversing these policy mistakes, the focus of governments should be squarely on ensuring the integrity of supply chains and increasing the distribution of vaccines.”