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IATA numbers point to continuing recovery.
Air freight data for September 2023 suggests continuing demand recovery, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers, increased by 1.9% compared to September 2022 levels (+6% for international operations).
Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), was up 12.1% compared to September 2022 (+0% for international operations). This was heavily related to international belly capacity which rose 31.5% year-on-year, as airlines scaled up operations to meet peak-northern summer travel season demand.
There are also other factors that should be noted:
"Air cargo eked out modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling trade volumes and high jet fuel prices. That clearly shows the strength of air cargo’s value proposition,” says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. “With the key export order and manufacturing PMIs hovering near positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic for a strong year-end peak season."
As one can gather from the chart above, North American carriers had the weakest performance in September, with a 2.2% decrease in cargo volumes. This was a decline in performance compared to August (-1.4%). Although contractions in the North America-Asia trade lane narrowed (from -4.3% in August to -1.8% in September) and the North America-Europe market stabilized its decline at (-2.5%) for the second month in a row. Capacity increased moderately by 0.2% compared to September 2022.
Air Cargo Demand up 1.9% in September, Sustaining Moderate Growth Momentum. IATA. November 8, 2023. Accessed November 20, 2023. https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/2023-releases/2023-11-08-01/