The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for November 2023 global air cargo markets indicating the strongest year-on-year growth in roughly two years as global cross-border trade and manufacturing output impacted demand.
This also reflects a fourth consecutive month of strengthening demand for air cargo.
Global demand for air cargo, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), increased by 8.3 percent compared to November 2022. For international operations, demand growth was 8.1 percent.
Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 13.7 percent compared to November 2022 (+11.6 percent for international operations).
Most of the capacity growth continues to be attributable to the increase in belly capacity as international passenger markets continue their post-COVID recovery.
Compared to November 2019 (pre-COVID-19), demand is down 2.5 percent while capacity is up 4.1 percent.
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 with small positive movements indicating a deceleration of the economic slowdown.
Global cross-border trade recorded growth for the third consecutive month in October, reversing its previous downward trend.
Inflation in major advanced economies continued to soften in November as measured by the corresponding Consumer Price Index (CPI), centering around three percent year-on-year for the United States, Japan, as well as the EU, in November. In the meantime, China exhibited negative annual growth in its CPI for the second time in a row.
Air cargo yields (including surcharges) continued their significant upward trend (+8.9 percent since October). Rising yields are in line with improving air cargo load factors over recent months. This could be tied in part to booming e-commerce deliveries from China to western markets.
“November air cargo demand was up 8.3 percent on 2022—the strongest year-on-year growth in almost two years. That is a doubling of October’s 3.8 percent 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
African airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 3.9 percent in November 2023, slightly improved compared to October’s +2.9 percent growth performance. Capacity was 14.0 percent above November 2022 levels.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 13.8 percent in November 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This performance was significantly above the previous month’s growth of 7.6percent. Available capacity for the region’s airlines increased by 29.6% 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 percent in November compared to the same month in 2022. This was a stronger performance than in October (1.0 percent). Capacity increased 6.5 percent in November 2023 compared to 2022.
Middle Eastern carriers had the strongest performance in November 2023, with a 13.5 percent year-on-year increase in cargo volumes. This was similar to the significant improvement noted in the previous month’s performance (+13.0 percent). Capacity increased 15.4 percent compared to November 2022.