The International Air Transport Association has released its global cargo demand figures for the month of October, revealing a year-on-year drop of 13.6%, the first year-on-year contraction since April. However, on a month-on-month basis, international cargo capacity was up by 2.4% as the end of year peak season approaches.
IATA also pointed out that new export orders, which are a leading indicator of cargo demand, are shrinking in all markets except China and South Korea. In addition, the latest global goods trade figures revealed a 5.6% expansion in September, a positive sign for the global economy. This is expected to primarily benefit maritime cargo, with a slight boost to air cargo as well. The US dollar has risen sharply in value, with the broad real effective exchange rate in September 2022 reaching the highest level since 1986. A strong dollar affects air cargo and as many costs are denominated in dollars, the currency’s appreciation adds another layer of cost on top of high inflation and high jet fuel prices.
“Air cargo continues to demonstrate resilience as headwinds persist. Cargo demand in October — while tracking below the exceptional performance of October 2021– saw a 3.5% increase in demand compared to September. This indicates that the year-end will still bring a traditional peak-season boost despite economic uncertainties. But as 2022 closes out it appears that the current economic uncertainties will follow into the New Year and need continued close monitoring,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
A summary of year-on-year figures is as follows: Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 14.7% in October, North American carriers posted an 8.6% decrease in cargo volumes in October, European carriers saw an 18.8% decrease in cargo volumes during October, while Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 15.0% year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes. Latin American carriers reported a decrease in demand of 1.4% in cargo volumes and African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 8.3%.