Air Cargo Sustains Significant Growth for February


Year-on-year growth in demand is strong, according to the IATA.

As noted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), February 2024 data suggests that air cargo markets are continuing to ride momentum, as demonstrated by the yearly rise in demand.

Global air cargo demand, which measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), saw an uptick of 11.9%, compared to last February’s numbers (12.4% for international operations). This type of double-digit year-on-year demand growth has occurred for three consecutive months.

Capacity for February 2024, which is expressed in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), rose by 13.4% over the previous year (16.0% for international operations). A major contributing factor was the growth in international belly capacity that was associated with passenger markets (they saw a 29.5% annual increase), which was far greater than freighters’ international capacity (3.2% year-on-year increase).

IATA also alluded to other considerations that impacted these numbers, such as:

  • When it came to February, year-on-year inflation decreased to 2.8% in the European Union, but increased to 2.8% and 3.2% in Japan and the United States respectively. China has also released its statistics, which demonstrated a 0.7% increase in inflation year-on-year after four months of decreases prior.
  • The manufacturing output purchasing managers' index (PMI) climbed to 51.2, a sign of growth (represented by numbers over 50). The new export orders PMI rose to 49.4, but still below that 50 marker.

"February’s demand growth of 11.9% far outpaced the 0.9% expansion in cross-border trade,” noted Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. “This strong start for 2024 could see demand surpass the exceptionally high levels of early 2022. It also shows air cargo’s strong resilience in the face of continuing political and economic uncertainties.”

Chart Credit: IATA

Chart Credit: IATA

According to the chart above, Asia-Pacific carriers saw an 11.9% year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in February, which was quite a significant decrease compared to January’s 24.3% year-on-year growth, but experts attribute this drop down to the Lunar New Year celebrations. As for North American airlines, they witnessed a 4.2% year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in February, a number that makes it the well below that of all the other regions.


Air Cargo Demand Maintains Double-Digit Growth in February. IATA. April 3, 2024. Accessed April 4, 2024.

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