Latest IATA numbers suggest a mixed bag for air cargo

October trends point to rising demand but at a slower pace

October data for global air freight markets showed that air cargo demand is improving, but at a slower speed than September, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s latest data. It also remains below previous year levels.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was 6.2% below previous-year levels in October (-7.5% for international operations). That is an improvement from the 7.8% year-on-year drop recorded in September. However, the pace of recovery in October was slower than in September, with month-on-month demand growing 4.1% (1.1% for international).

Similar to September, global capacity—measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs)—was also a concern this time around, shrinking by 22.6% in October (‑24.8% for international operations) compared to the year before. That is almost four times larger than the contraction in demand, illustrating the continuing and severe capacity issue.

North American and African carriers reported year-on-year gains in demand (+6.2% and +2.2% respectively), while all other regions remained in the negative, versus October 2019.