Air cargo demand up 1.9% in September, according to the International Air Transport Association
Global demand grew 1.9% compared to Sept 2022; +6% for international ops
Capacity was up 12.1%
Global air cargo markets showed continuing demand recovery, according to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), grew 1.9% year-on-year in September (+6% for international operations).
Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), saw a 12.1% uptick compared to the same period in 2022, with no change for international operations.
The growth in demand was primarily driven by a 31.5% year-on-year increase in international belly capacity, as airlines expanded operations to meet the heightened demand during the peak-northern summer travel season.
According to IATA, several factors in the operating environment should be noted:
- In September, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing output (49.7) and new export orders (47.7) showed a slight improvement from the previous month. However, both remained below the critical 50-point threshold, indicating a continued, albeit slightly slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.
- Global cross-border trade contracted for the fifth consecutive month in August, decreasing by 3.8% year-over-year, attributed to the cooling global macroeconomic environment.
- Annual growth in US consumer prices stabilized in September at 3.7%, the same rate as in August. In Europe and Japan, consumer price inflation slowed by 1.0 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, resulting in rates of 4.9% and 3.0%. China experienced a 0.1% annual rise in consumer prices due to deflation-fighting policy measures.
- In September, the average jet fuel price was $131.0 per barrel, marking a 43.1% increase from the May 2023 price. Partial recovery of this added cost through surcharges in September contributed to the first increase in air cargo yields since November 2022.
Willie Walsh, IATA director general, remarked on the modest growth, saying, “Air cargo eked out modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling trade volumes and high jet fuel prices. That clearly shows the strength of air cargo’s value proposition.”
“With the key export order and manufacturing PMIs hovering near positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic for a strong year-end peak season,” he added.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 7.7% in September from the same month in 2022. This was a significant improvement in performance compared to August (+4.6%).
North American carriers had the weakest performance in September, with a 2.2% decrease in cargo volumes. This was a decline in performance compared to August (-1.4%).
European carriers saw their air cargo volumes decline by 1.5% in September compared to the same month in 2022. This was a weaker performance than in August (-0.6%).
Middle Eastern carriers had the strongest performance in September 2023, with a 2.5% year-on-year increase in cargo volumes. This was an improvement from the previous month’s performance (+1.3%).
Latin American carriers experienced a 2.3% increase in cargo volumes compared to September 2022. This was a significant decrease in performance compared to the previous month (+6.2%).
African airlines saw their air cargo volumes decline by 0.1% in September 2023, despite the strong growth of demand on the Africa-Asia trade lane (+12.8%). This was an improvement in performance compared to August (-3.5%).