The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 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-kilometers (CTKs*), increased by 1.5% compared to August 2022 levels (1.2% for international operations).
- Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), was up 12.2% compared to August 2022 (11.8% 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.
- Several factors in the operating environment should be noted:
- 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
“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.