Air Cargo Management

Air cargo demand up 8.3% in November 2023, reports IATA

air cargo
photo_camera Credit: Chalabala/Adobe Stock

Global air cargo markets data for November 2023 released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate the strongest year-on-year (YoY) growth in roughly two years.

IATA states this is partly due to weakness in November 2022, but also reflects a fourth consecutive month of strengthening demand for air cargo.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said: “November air cargo demand was up 8.3 per cent on 2022 – the strongest YoY growth in almost two years.

“That is a doubling of October’s 3.8 per cent increase and a fourth month of positive market development.

“It is shaping up to be an encouraging year-end for air cargo despite the significant economic concerns that were present throughout 2023 and continue on the horizon.”

Global demand for air cargo, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), increased by 8.3 per cent compared to November 2022, and for international operations, demand growth was 8.1 per cent.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 13.7 per cent compared to November 2022 (+11.6 per cent for international operations). IATA states that most of the capacity growth continues to be attributable to the increase in belly capacity as international passenger markets continue their post-Covid-19 recovery.

Compared to November 2019 (pre-Covid-19), demand is down 2.5 per cent while capacity is up 4.1 per cent.

IATA states that there are some indicators to note including that both the manufacturing output and new export order Purchasing Managers Indexes (PMIs) – two leading indicators of global air cargo demand – continued to hover just below the 50-mark in November 2023 with small positive movements indicating a deceleration of the economic slowdown.

Regional performance

When looking at regional performance for the period, Middle Eastern carriers had the strongest performance in November 2023, with a 13.5 per cent YoY increase in cargo volumes. This was similar to the significant improvement noted in the previous month’s performance (+13.0 per cent). Capacity increased 15.4 per cent compared to November 2022.

North American carriers had the weakest demand growth in November 2023 with a 1.8 per cent increase YoY in cargo volumes. IATA states this was, nonetheless, a significant improvement in performance compared to October’s -1.8 per cent contraction. Capacity increased by 4.0 per cent compared to November 2022.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 13.8 per cent in November 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This performance was significantly above the previous month’s growth of 7.6 per cent. Available capacity for the region’s airlines increased by 29.6 per cent compared to November 2022 as more belly capacity came online with the removal of Covid-19 restrictions.

European carriers saw their air cargo volumes increase by 6.7 per cent in November 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This was a stronger performance than in October (1.0 per cent). Capacity increased 6.5 per cent in November 2023 compared to 2022.

Latin American carriers experienced a 4.2 per cent increase in cargo volumes compared to November 2022, very similar to the 4.0 per cent YoY increase recorded for October. Capacity in November 2023 was up 7.7 per cent compared to the same month in 2022.

African airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 3.9 per cent in November 2023, slightly improved compared to October’s +2.9 per cent growth performance. Capacity was 14.0 per cent above November 2022 levels.

The full ‘Air Cargo Market Analysis’ for November 2023 can be found on the IATA website.

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