(04/05/23) IATA’s global air
cargo market data for March 2023 shows a slight improvement in
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTK),
fell 7.7% compared to March 2022 (-8.1% for international
operations), a slight improvement on February’s performance (-9.4%) and half the rate of
the annual decline
seen in January and December (-16.8% and -15.6% respectively).
this point, it is unclear if this is a potentially modest start of
an improvement trend or the upside of market volatility.
Irrespective of this, March performance slipped back into negative
territory compared to pre-COVID19 levels (-8.1%).
Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers
(ACTK), was up 9.9% compared to March 2022, reflecting the additional belly capacity as the passenger side of the business
continues to recover.
UPS Boeing 747-8F reg: N607UP at HKIA. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com
Several factors in the operating
environment should be noted:
– Even with record low
unemployment rates, the global economy continues to decelerate due
to a combination of factors such as tightening global financial
conditions, high levels of global debt, and supply chain problems
including those linked to the war in Ukraine.
– In line
with the weakening global trade, the Purchasing Manager Indices
(PMI) for new export orders at the global level remained below
the 50-critical line for a full year as of March. China’s PMI
retreated to below the 50-mark in March, following a slight
improvement in February.
– The PMI for supplier
delivery times indicates high inventory levels, which tends to
have a negative impact on air cargo.
– The global trade of goods
decreased by 2.6% in February, a faster rate of decline
than the previous month of -1%.
“Air cargo had a volatile first quarter,” said
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “In March, overall demand
slipped back below pre-COVID19 levels and most of the indicators
for the fundamental drivers of air cargo demand are weak or
weakening. While the trading environment is tough, there is some
good news. Airlines are getting help in managing through the
volatility with yields that have remained high and fuel prices
that have moderated from exceptionally high levels. Looking ahead,
with inflation reducing in G7 countries policy makers are expected
to ease economic cooling measures and that would stimulate
airlines saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 7.3% in March
2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This was a slight
decrease in performance compared to February (-5.4%).
drop in demand suggests that air cargo traffic in the region has
not yet stabilized following China’s reopening in January.
Available capacity in the region increased by 23.6% compared to
March 2022 as more belly capacity came online from the passenger
side of the business.
North American carriers
posted the weakest performance of all regions with a 9.4% decrease
in cargo volumes in March 2023 compared to the same month in 2022.
This was a decrease in performance compared to February (-10.3%).
The transatlantic route between North America and Europe saw
traffic declining at an accelerated pace throughout March.
Capacity increased 0.4% compared to March 2022.
European carriers saw the most substantial improvement in demand
in March over the previous month with
air cargo volumes decreasing by 7.8% during the month compared to
March 2022, an improvement in performance versus
February (-15.9%). Airlines in the region continue to be most
affected by the war in Ukraine. Capacity increased 8.8% in March
2023 compared to March 2022.
carriers experienced a 5.5% year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes
in March 2023. This was also an improvement to the previous month’s decline (-7.1%). The demand on Middle East-Europe routes
has been trending upward in recent months. Capacity increased 9.7%
compared to March 2022.
Latin American carriers
had the strongest performance of all regions in March despite
posting a decline in performance over the previous month. Carriers
in the region reported a 5.3% decrease in cargo volumes in March
2023 compared to March 2022. This was a drop in performance
compared to February which saw a 2.9% decrease. Capacity in March
was up 12.9% compared to the same month in 2022.
African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 6.2% in March 2023
compared to March 2022. This was an improvement in performance
compared to the previous month (-7.4%). Notably, Africa to Asia
routes experienced significant cargo demand growth in March.
Capacity was 4.1% below March 2022 levels.