Global air cargo demand continues to grow

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Demand in the global air cargo market continued to grow this past May, according to data released from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Total demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), increased 14.7 per cent compared to May 2023 levels, and 15.5 per cent for international operations. This is the sixth consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year growth.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), increased by 6.7 per cent compared to May 2023, and 10.2 per cent for international operations.

“Air cargo demand moved sharply upwards in May across all regions. The sector benefitted from trade growth, booming e-commerce and capacity constraints on maritime shipping,” said Willie Walsh, IATA director general. “The outlook remains largely positive with purchasing managers showing expectations for future growth. Some dampening, however, could come as the U.S. imposes stricter conditions on e-commerce deliveries from China. Increased costs and transit times for shipments under $800 may deter U.S. consumers and pose significant challenges for growth on the Asia-North America trade lane—the world’s biggest.”

Regionally, North American carriers saw 8.7 per cent year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in May —the weakest among all regions. Demand on the Asia-North America trade lane grew by 12 per cent year-on-year, while the North America-Europe route saw an increase of 8.9 per cent, marking the largest demand growth for this route since mid-2022. May capacity increased by 2.5 per cent year-on-year.

African airlines saw 18.4 per cent year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in May – the strongest of all regions. Demand on the Africa–Asia market increased by 40.6 per cent compared to May 2023, the strongest performance of all trade lanes. May capacity increased by 21.4 per cent year-on-year.