July Sees a Rise in Air Freight Demand


IATA statistics suggest improvement over recent months.

Global air cargo market statistics for July 2023 show a continuing trend of recovering growth rates since February, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). July air cargo demand was tracking just 0.8% below the previous year’s levels. Although demand is now basically flat compared to 2022, IATA notes that this is an improvement on recent months’ performance, even while considering declines in global trade volumes and concerns over China’s economy.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), tracked at 0.8% below July 2022 levels (-0.4% for international operations). This was an improvement over the previous month’s performance (-3.4%).

Capacity, which is measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), rose 11.2% compared to July 2022 (8% for international operations). The strong uptick in ACTKs is a reflection of the growth in belly capacity (29.3% year-on-year) due to the summer season.

Chart Credit: IATA

Chart Credit: IATA

"… How this trend will evolve in the coming months will be something to watch carefully,” says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. “Many fundamental drivers of air cargo demand, such as trade volumes and export orders, remain weak or are deteriorating. … At the same time, we are seeing shorter delivery times, which is normally a sign of increasing economic activity. Amid these mixed signals, strengthening demand gives us good reason to be cautiously optimistic."

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