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Africa|Environment|Export|Manufacturing|transport|Manufacturing
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IATA reports that strong air cargo growth continued in February

IATA director-general Willie Walsh

IATA director-general Willie Walsh

Photo by IATA

4th April 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Global air cargo traffic, in year-on-year terms, increased by double digits for the third month in a row, in February, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported. IATA is the global representative body of the airline industry.

“February’s demand growth of 11.9% far outpaced the 0.9% expansion in cross-border trade,” highlighted IATA director-general Willie Walsh. “This strong start for 2024 could see demand surpass the exceptionally high levels of early 2022. It also shows air cargo’s strong resilience in the face of continuing political and economic uncertainties.”

International air cargo demand in February increased by 12.4%. Total air cargo capacity rose by 13.4%, while international air cargo capacity grew by 16%. The increase in capacity was largely driven by increased international airliner belly hold capacity, resulting from air passenger traffic growth. Belly hold capacity in February increased, in year-on-year terms, by 29.5%, while international capacity on dedicated freighters rose by only 3.2%.

Regarding the wider operating environment in which air cargo exists and functions, in February the new export orders Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 49.4, an increase over January but still below the 50-point mark, beyond which growth would be registered. However, the manufacturing output PMI in February was above 50, at 51.2, signalling expansion.

As for inflation in major markets in February, the figure for the European Union fell, to 2.8%, while that in Japan rose, to also run at 2.8%. The figure for the US also rose, to 3.2%. While Chinese inflation also increased, to 0.7%, that was encouraging, because of concerns that the Chinese economy was slowing down.

The region which saw the strongest air cargo growth in February was Africa, at 22%. Intra-African air cargo actually jumped 42.3%. The second fastest growth was recorded by Middle Eastern carriers, at 20.9%. Their strongest route was Middle East-Europe, which soared 39.3%, while Middle East-Asia increased much less, by 21.9%. Europe ranked third, with 14.6% growth (the significant increase in traffic between Europe and the Middle East has already been noted).

Latin America occupied fourth place, at 13.7%. Then came the Asia-Pacific carriers, which recorded traffic growth of 11.9% in February, although this was notably lower than the 24.3% year-on-year increase recorded in January. This decline, however, was probably related to decelerating activities, following the Lunar New Year celebrations. The lowest cargo demand growth was experienced by North American airlines, at just 4.2%. The strongest international route for them was North America-Europe, which saw growth of 5.2%.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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