AIR CARGO DEMAND REMAINS WEAK IN MARCH
On 3 May, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that the global air cargo markets in March 2023 experienced a continued decline in comparison to the same period in 2022. The demand fell by 7.7% in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), which was a slight improvement from February (-9.4%) but still lower than pre-COVID levels (-8.1%).
Available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTK) increased by 9.9% from March 2022, which indicates the addition of belly capacity as passenger flights resume gradually. The weak demand for air cargo was caused by various factors, including tightening global financial conditions, high levels of global debt, and supply chain issues related to the war in Ukraine.
The March performance of European carriers showed a significant improvement in demand compared to February, despite their air cargo volumes decreasing by 7.8% when compared to March 2022. However, this was still a better performance than in February when their volumes decreased by 15.9%. The war in Ukraine continues to have a significant impact on airlines in the region. In March 2023, capacity increased by 8.8% compared to the same period in 2022.
“Air cargo had a volatile first quarter. In March, overall demand slipped back below pre-COVID-19 levels and most of the indicators for the fundamental drivers of air cargo demand are weak or weakening. While the trading environment is tough, there is some good news. Airlines are getting help in managing through the volatility with yields that have remained high and fuel prices that have moderated from exceptionally high levels. Looking ahead, with inflation reducing in G7 countries policy makers are expected to ease economic cooling measures and that would stimulate demand,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.