Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell 7.5 per cent compared to February 2022, which was half the rate of decline seen in the previous two months. However, international operations saw an 8.3 per cent decline in demand.
Global air cargo demand has surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 8 months, according to IATA.
While global demand fell by 7.5 per cent compared to Feb 2022, available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTK) increased by 8.6 per cent due to the addition of belly capacity.
North American carriers saw an increase in international demand.
Available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTK) in February 2023 increased by 8.6 per cent compared to February 2022, reflecting the addition of belly capacity. International belly-capacity grew by 57 per cent in February year-over-year (YoY), reaching 75.1 per cent of the 2019 (pre-pandemic) capacity, as per the data by IATA.
The operating environment had several factors to note, including the global new export orders component of the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which continued to increase in February, indicating that demand for manufactured goods is growing. Although global goods trade decreased by 1.5 per cent in January, it was a slower rate of decline than the previous month of -3.3 per cent. Additionally, the Consumer Price Index for G7 countries decreased from 6.7 per cent in January to 6.4 per cent in February, while inflation in producer (input) prices reduced by 2.2 percentage points to 9.6 per cent in December.
In terms of regional performance, Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 6.0 per cent in February 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. However, this was a significant improvement compared to January (-19.0 per cent). North American carriers posted a 3.2 per cent decrease in cargo volumes in February 2023 compared to the same month in 2022, but saw a significant increase in international demand in February, which boosted its market share in international cargo traffic to beyond pre-pandemic levels (21.7 per cent in Feb 2023 versus 18.2 per cent in Feb 2019).
European carriers saw the weakest performance of all regions with a 15.3 per cent decrease in cargo volumes in February 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. Middle Eastern carriers experienced an 8.1 per cent YoY decrease in cargo volumes in February 2023, while Latin American carriers reported a 2.7 per cent decrease. African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 3.4 per cent in February 2023 compared to February 2022, but the Africa to Asia route area experienced significant cargo demand growth in February, up 39.5 per cent YoY. Capacity was 4.7 per cent above February 2022 levels, according to IATA.
“The story of air cargo in February is one of slowing declines. Year-on-year demand fell by 7.5 per cent. That’s half the rate of decline experienced in January. This shifting of gears was sufficient to boost the overall industry into positive territory (2.9 per cent) compared to pre-pandemic levels. An optimistic eye could see the start of an improvement trend that leads to market stabilisation and a return to more normal demand patterns after dramatic ups-and-downs in recent years,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)