IATA’s May Air Cargo Numbers Suggest Capacity Expansion

Easing of Omicron restrictions in China played a role, association notes

The most recent stats for global air cargo markets showed that the easing of Omicron restrictions in China helped to alleviate supply chain constraints and helped contribute to a performance improvement in May, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was 8.3% below May 2021 levels (-8.1% for international operations), which was an improvement on the year-on-year decline of 9.1% seen in April. As for capacity, it was 2.7% above May 2021 (+5.7% for international operations). Overall, capacity expanded in all regions, with Asia-Pacific experiencing the largest growth.

“May offered positive news for air cargo, most notably because of the easing of some Omicron restrictions in China … The return of Asian production as COVID-19 measures eased, particularly in China, will support demand for air cargo," says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. "And the strong rebound in passenger traffic has increased belly capacity, although not always in the markets where the capacity crunch is most critical. But uncertainty in the overall economic situation will need to be carefully watched,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.