Demand for air cargo was up 3.8 per cent in October marking three consecutive months of year-on-year growth, says IATA

Air cargo airfreight interior plane AdobeStock_213944884

Global cargo capacity rose 30.5 per cent year-on-year in October

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has today (5 December) released data for October 2023 global air cargo markets, indicating the third consecutive month of stronger year-on-year demand.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), increased by 3.8 per cent compared to October 2022. For international operations, the demand lagged slightly at 3.5 per cent.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 13.1 per cent compared to October 2022 (11.1 per cent for international operations). This was largely related to the growth in belly capacity. International belly capacity, for example, rose 30.5 per cent year-on-year on the strength of passenger markets.

In its report, IATA noted several factors in the operating environment, including slowing economic activities in October. With the Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing output and export orders for major economies (excluding the US) remaining below the critical 50 mark, there is a clear marker for economic challenges ahead, the association said.

Inflation in major advanced economies continued to ease from its peak in terms of Consumer Price Index (CPI), reaching between 3 per cent and 4 per cent for the US and for the EU respectively, in October. China’s CPI, however, indicated deflation for the second time this year, raising concerns of an economic slowdown.

Nevertheless, global trade reversed its downward trajectory and stabilised in September, IATA said. Although below its 2022 peak, global cross-border trade is more than 5 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.

After a continuous 17-month decline, cargo yields ticked-up in September and continued into October with a 2.6 per cent month-on-month gain, remaining well-above pre-pandemic levels.

Commenting on October’s air cargo performance, Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said: “Demand for air cargo was up 3.8 per cent in October. That marks three consecutive months of year-on-year growth, placing air cargo on course to end 2023 on a much stronger footing than it began the year. Recovering demand, slightly stronger yields and the uptick in trade are all good news.

“But with demand still 2.4 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, and much uncertainty remaining over the trajectory of the global economy, optimism must be balanced with caution. Nonetheless, a continued strong peak year-end season will certainly help the sector to manage through whatever turns the global economy might take in 2024.”