IATA unveils latest air freight data

May 4, 2021

Report shows that air cargo demand is at a record high

Recently released March 2021 data for global air cargo markets showed that air cargo demand continued to outperform pre-Covid levels (March 2019), with demand up 4.4%, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). March demand reached the highest level recorded since the series began in 1990. Month-on-month demand also increased (although at a slower pace than last month), with volumes up 0.4% in March over February 2021 levels.

Global demand, which is measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 4.4% compared to March 2019 and +0.4% compared to February 2021. This was a slower rate of growth than the previous month, which saw demand increase 9.2% compared to February 2019. Contributing to softer growth in March was a weaker performance by Asia-Pacific and African carriers compared to February.

The upward trend featuring global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), continued to recover for March, rising 5.6% compared to the previous month. However, capacity is still 11.7% below pre-Covid-19 levels (March 2019), as a result of the current grounding of passenger aircraft.