Air cargo demand continued to surge despite economic uncertainties: IATA – Times of India



MUMBAI: Air cargo demand rebounded in 2023 with a particularly strong fourth quarter performance despite economic uncertainties and full-year demand reached a level just slightly below 2022 and 2019, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its monthly report.
“Global full-year demand in 2023, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was down 1.9% compared to 2022 (-2.2% for international operations).Compared to 2019, it was down 3.6% (-3.8 for international operations),” said the IATA report. “Capacity in 2023, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), was 11.3% above 2022 (+9.6% for international operations). Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID) levels, capacity was up 2.5% (0.0% for international operations),” it said.
The month of December 2023 saw an exceptionally strong performance: global demand was 10.8% above 2022 levels (+11.5% for international operations). “This was the strongest annual growth performance over the past two years. Global capacity was 13.6% above 2022 levels (+14.1% for international operations),” he said.
Among the indicators to note include global cross-border trade recorded growth for the third consecutive month in October, reversing its previous downward trend.
“December inflation in both the United States and the EU as measured by the corresponding Consumer Price Indices (CPI) stayed below 3.5% year-on-year. China’s CPI, however, indicated deflation for the third consecutive month, raising concerns of an economic slowdown,” IATA said.
“Both the manufacturing output and new export order Purchasing Managers Indexes (PMIs) – two leading indicators of global air cargo demand—continued to hover below the 50-mark in December, usual markers for contraction,” it added.
“Despite political and economic challenges, 2023 saw air cargo markets regain ground lost in 2022 after the extraordinary COVID peak in 2021. Although full year demand was shy of pre-Covid levels by 3.6%, the significant strengthening in the last quarter is a sign that markets are stabilizing towards more normal demand patterns. That puts the industry on very solid ground for success in 2024. But with continued, and in some cases intensifying, instability in geopolitics and economic forces, little should be taken for granted in the months ahead,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
When Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 0.9% increase in demand in 2023 compared to 2022 (-1.4% for international operations) and a capacity increase of 28.5% (+16.6% for international operations). In December, airlines in the region recorded the best performance of all regions, posting an 18.5% increase in demand (+15.4% for international operations) compared to 2022. Capacity increased 31.1% (+22.9% for international operations) during the same period.
European carriers posted a 3.9% decrease in demand in 2023 compared to 2022 (-4.1% for international operations). During the same period, airlines posted a capacity increase of 4.5% for both global and international operations.
In December, airlines in the region posted an 8.6% increase in demand (+8.7% for international operations) compared to 2022. Capacity increased 7.4% (+7.5% for international operations) during the same period. Airlines in the region continued to be most affected by the war in Ukraine. Middle Eastern carriers reported an increase in demand of 1.6% for global and international demand in 2023 compared to 2022 and an increase in capacity of 13.5% (+13.6% for international operations).
In December airlines in the region posted an 18.3% increase in demand for both global and international operations compared to 2022. Capacity increased 17.7% (+17.8% for international operations) during the same period.



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