DALLAS – According to its latest figures for September 2022, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that demand for global air cargo has decreased.
Worldwide demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CKTs), fell by 10.6% compared to last year. International operations were also down 10.6% but remained close to pre-pandemic levels. Air freight capacity, meanwhile, was up by 2.4% over September 2021 but still below pre-pandemic levels.
Speaking of the shift, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said, “While air cargo’s activity continues to track near to 2019 levels, volumes remain below 2021’s exceptional performance as the industry faces some headwinds.
“At the consumer level, with travel restrictions lifting post-pandemic, people are likely to spend more on vacation travel and less on e-commerce. And at the macro-level, increasing recession warnings are likely to have a negative impact on the global flows of goods and services, balanced slightly by stabilization of oil prices.”
He added, “Against this backdrop, air cargo is bearing up well. And a strategic slow-down in capacity growth from 6.3% in August to 2.4% in September demonstrates the flexibility the industry has in adjusting to economic developments,”
The weakest performance was seen across the Middle East, with a year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes of 15.8%. IATA blamed the drop on ‘stagnant cargo volumes to/from Europe.’ Despite the drop, Emirates (EK) has announced an order for five additional Boeing 777 Freighters for its SkyCargo division.
Indeed, Europe itself also fared poorly, with volumes down 15.6% compared to the same period in 2021. This has been attributed to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and extensive labor shortages. The same factors were also blamed for the Asia-Pacific region’s volumes being down by 10.7%. Extensive COVID-related travel restrictions across China also impacted the figure.
In North America, carriers posted a 6% decrease in volumes in September 2022 compared to September 2021.
On the other end of the scale, Latin American carriers enjoyed an increase of 10.8%, brought on by introducing new cargo services and acquiring additional aircraft. Africa also saw volumes increase by 0.1%.
While cargo volumes may have been down, cargo capacity was up year-on-year for all except two regions: Asia-Pacific (+2.8%), North America (+4.6%), Europe (+0.2%), and Latin America (+18.4%). Middle East capacity was down 2.8%, while African capacity fell by 4.1% compared to 2021 levels.
Featured Image: One region that has bucked the downward trend in Latin America. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways.