Air Freight Demand Continues Its Climb in March


IATA data points to a fourth consecutive month of double-digit, year-on-year growth.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), March 2024 data for global air freight markets are continuing to present an upward trend, as demonstrated by favorable yearly growth in demand.

Total demand, which is measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), increased by 10.3% compared to last March’s levels (11.4% for international operations). This represents the fourth straight month of double-digit year-on-year growth.

Capacity, expressed in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), rose by 7.3% compared over March of last year (10.5% for international operations).

Other surrounding factors affected these numbers, including:

  • In March, the manufacturing output purchasing managers’ index (PMI) jumped to 51.9, a sign of expansion. The new export orders’ PMI climbed to 49.5, remaining slightly, which although still below the 50 threshold, still represents growth, especially over the 49.4 measurement from last month.
  • Inflation varied depending on the region. In the EU and Japan for instance, the inflation rates fell to 2.6% and 2.7% respectively. On the other hand, in the United States, they increased to 3.5%, while in China, there was deflation of -0.01%.

"Air cargo demand grew by 10.3% over the previous March. This contributed to a strong first quarter performance which slightly exceeded even the exceptionally strong 2021 first quarter performance during the COVID crisis. With global cross-border trade and industrial production continuing to show a moderate upward trend, 2024 is shaping up to be a solid year for air cargo," noted Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Chart Credit: IATA

Chart Credit: IATA

According to the above chart, Asia-Pacific airlines saw 14.3% year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in March. North American carriers experienced a 0.9% year-on-year demand growth for air cargo for the month, a figure representing the lowest among all regions.


Air Cargo Demand Maintains Double-Digit Growth in February. IATA. April 30, 2024. Accessed May 1, 2024.

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