• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Air cargo May demand surge on trade, e-commerce

Aircraft belly expansion sees cargo demand rise in September

Trade growth, booming e-commerce and capacity constraints on maritime shipping has led to an increase in global demand for air cargo in May 2024, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed.

Total demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers, rose by 14.7 percent compared to May 2023 levels (15.5 percent for international operations). This is the sixth consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year growth.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), increased by 6.7 percent compared to May 2023 (10.2 percent for international operations).

“Air cargo demand moved sharply upwards in May across all regions. The sector benefited from trade growth, booming e-commerce and capacity constraints on maritime shipping. The outlook remains largely positive with purchasing managers showing expectations for future growth.

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“Some dampening, however, could come as the US imposes stricter conditions on e-commerce deliveries from China. Increased costs and transit times for shipments under $800 may deter US consumers and pose significant challenges for growth on the Asia-North America trade lane—the world’s biggest,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

Several factors in the operating environment should be noted:

In May the Purchasing Managers Index (PMIs) for global manufacturing output and new export orders indicated expansion (52.6 and 50.4 respectively).

Industrial production and global cross-border trade increased month-on-month in April (0.5 percent and 1.5 percent respectively).

Inflation saw a mixed picture in May. In the EU and Japan, inflation rates fell to 2.7 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, while rising in the US to 3.3 percent . In contrast, China’s inflation rate remained near zero (0.3 percent) reflecting weak domestic demand due to high unemployment, slow income growth, and a crisis in the real estate sector, a trend that has persisted since 2023.

African airlines saw 18.4 percent year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in May – the strongest of all regions. Demand on the Africa–Asia market increased by 40.6 percent compared to May 2023, the strongest performance of all trade lanes. May capacity increased by 21.4 percent year-on-year.

European carriers saw 17.2 percent year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in May. Intra-European air cargo rose by 25.6 percent compared to May 2023, the fifth month in a row of double-digit annual growth. Europe–Middle East routes saw demand increase by 33.8 percent . May capacity increased 11.9 percent year-on-year.

Middle Eastern carriers saw 15.3 percent year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in May. As mentioned above, the Middle East–Europe market performed particularly well with 33.8 percent annual growth, ahead of Middle East-Asia which grew by 18.6 percent year-on-year. May capacity increased 2.7 percent year-on-year.