IATA reports continued strong air cargo growth in March

2nd May 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that March is the fourth month in a row in which global air cargo demand grew by double digits, in year-on-year terms. IATA is the global representative body for the airline (including air cargo) industry.

“Air cargo demand grew by 10.3% over the previous March,” highlighted IATA director-general Willie Walsh. “This contributed to a strong first-quarter performance which slightly exceeded even the exceptionally strong 2021 first-quarter performance during the Covid crisis. With global cross-border trade and industrial production continuing to show a moderate upward trend, 2024 is shaping up to be a solid year for air cargo.”

The figure of 10.3% was for total air cargo; the year-on-year increase for international air cargo was 11.4%. Total air cargo capacity increased, year-on-year, by 7.3%, while international capacity rose by 10.5%.

Background to these increases was provided by a 1.2% increase in cross-border trade and a 1.6% rise in industrial production, during February. March saw the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) increase to 51.9 points, signalling expansion. New export orders PMI, at 49.5, remained below the key 50 level but was also an increase. Again in March, inflation in the European Union fell to 2.6%, while that in Japan deceased to 2.7%; however, US inflation rose to 3.5%. China saw slight deflation, of -0.01%.

The region that saw the strongest year-on-year growth in total air cargo in March was the Middle East, with a figure of 19.9%. It was followed by the Asia-Pacific, at 14.3%, with Africa fractionally behind, at 14.2%. Then came Europe (10%), Latin America (9.2%) and finally the US (only 0.9%).

However, Africa also recorded, in March, the biggest contraction on a specific major route. While, in year-on-year terms, the Africa-Asia route recorded an increase of 22.9%, in month-on-month terms it registered a contraction of 19.8 percentage points.

In terms of year-on-year air cargo capacity growth, Africa saw the greatest increase, at 17.3%. Then came the Asia-Pacific, at 14.3%, followed by the Middle East (10.6%), Europe (8%), and Latin America (7%). North America saw a year-on-year decrease in air cargo capacity of -1.9%.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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