IATA’s February Air Cargo Numbers Demonstrate Growth

Global demand for the aforementioned month was greater than 2021, report shows

The latest data for global air cargo markets showed that demand increased in February despite a challenging operating backdrop, as noted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Compared to January, various factors helped air cargo in the month of February. On the demand side, manufacturing activity ramped-up quickly after the early February Lunar New Year holiday. Capacity was positively impacted by the relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions, reduced flight cancellations due to Omicron-related factors (outside of Asia), and fewer winter weather operational disruptions.

Specifically, global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 2.9% compared to February 2021 (2.5% for international operations). Overall, demand increased 2.7% year-on-year. While cargo volumes continued to rise, the growth rate decelerated from the 8.7% year-on-year expansion in December. As for capacity, it was 12.5% above February 2021 (8.9% for international operations). However, compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, capacity remains constrained, 5.6% below February 2019 levels.

“Demand for air cargo continued to expand despite growing challenges in the trading environment. That is not likely to be the case in March as the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine take hold,” says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. “Sanction-related shifts in manufacturing and economic activity, rising oil prices, and geopolitical uncertainty will take their toll on air cargo’s performance.”