The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for August 2023 global air cargo markets, showing that year-on-year air cargo demand grew for the first time in 19 months.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), increased by 1.5% compared to August 2022 levels (2% for international operations).
Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 12.2% compared to August 2022 (8% for international operations). This was largely related to belly capacity which rose 30% year-on-year as airlines ramped-up operations to meet peak-northern summer travel season demand.
Noteworthy is that in August, both the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers Index or PMI (49.4) and new export orders PMI (47.0) saw a slight improvement to the previous month. They remained, however, below the critical threshold represented by the 50 mark, indicating a continuing, if slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.
Global cross-border trade contracted for the fourth month in a row in July, decreasing 3.2% year-over-year. This reflects the cooling demand environment and general macroeconomic conditions.
Inflation saw a mixed picture in August, with an increase in US consumer prices for the second month in a row. Meanwhile in Europe and Japan, consumer and producer prices fell. In China, which is fighting deflationary pressures, consumer prices rose.
“Air cargo demand grew by 1.5% over the previous August. This is the first year-on-year growth in 19 months, so it is certainly welcome news. But it is off a low 2022 base and market signals are mixed. Looking ahead, while many uncertainties remain, we can take some optimism from PMI data moving towards positive territory. This is particularly significant as we head into air cargo’s traditional peak year-end season,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 4.9% in August 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This was a significant improvement in performance compared to July (+2.3%).
North American carriers saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 1.2%. This was an improvement in performance compared to July (-5.4%).
European carriers saw their air cargo volumes decline by 0.2% in August compared to the same month in 2022. This was, however, an improvement in performance versus July (-1.0%).
Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 1.4% year-on-year increase in cargo volumes in August 2023. This was an improvement from the previous month’s performance (-0.1%).
Latin American carriers had the strongest performance in August 2023, with a 6.2% increase in cargo volumes compared to August 2022. This was a significant increase in performance compared to the previous month (+0.5%).
African airlines had the weakest performance in August 2023, with a 4.7% decline in cargo volumes compared to August 2022. This was a significant decrease in performance compared to July (+2.3%).