Air Cargo Management

Drop in demand and contraction in capacity for global air cargo in April, reports IATA

Willie Walsh
photo_camera IATA's Willie Walsh

Global air cargo markets experienced a drop in demand and contraction in capacity in April 2022, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) data.

The effects of Omicron in Asia and the Russia-Ukraine war continue to create a challenging operating backdrop that is driving the decline, the organisation said.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell 11.2 per cent in the month compared to April 2021. There was a 10.6 per cent fall for international operations. Global demand was down one per cent compared to April 2019.

Capacity was two per cent below 2021, but up 1.2 per cent for international operations. Both global capacity and international capacity decreased slightly in April compared to March, IATA reported. Asia experienced the largest falls in capacity.

Source: IATA. Click to enlarge
Source: IATA. Click to enlarge

IATA noted a number of key factors impacting the operating environment. The war in Ukraine led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players, it said. Additionally, China’s zero-Covid policy led to capacity challenges due to flight cancellations because of labour shortages.

New export orders, which IATA described as a leading indicator of cargo demand and world trade, are now shrinking in all markets except the US. Global goods trade has continued to decline in 2022, with China’s economy growing more slowly because of Covid-19 related lockdowns, among other factors, IATA said. “The lockdowns have brought much of the world’s largest port, Shanghai, to a standstill,” the organisation commented. “Supply chain disruptions due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict are also adding to the downward pressure on trade.”

IATA’s director general Willie Walsh commented: “Air cargo demand fell by 11.2 per cent in April and capacity contracted two per cent compared to April 2021. The combination of the war in Ukraine and Covid-19 lockdowns in China have pushed up energy costs, intensified supply chain disruptions, and fed inflation. The operating environment is challenging for all businesses, including air cargo. But with China easing lockdown restrictions, there is cause for some optimism and the supply/demand imbalance is keeping yields high.”

Global CTKs seasonally adjusted. Click on charts to enlarge
Growth in global goods trade and CTKs
CTK growth versus global new export orders
International CTK growth (airline region of registration)

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