24 June 2022


On 7 June, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released April 2022 data for global air cargo markets, showing a drop in demand and contraction in capacity. The effects of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Asia, as well as the Russian war in Ukraine continue to create a challenging operating backdrop that is driving the decline.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell 11.2% year-on-year, representing a drop of 1% compared to April 2019. Capacity was 2% below 2021. Both global capacity and international capacity decreased slightly in April compared to March. Asia experienced the largest falls in capacity.

According to IATA, key factors in the operating environment influencing the drop include the Russian war in Ukraine, which led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. Additionally, the zero-COVID policy in China led to capacity challenges due to flight cancellations because of labour shortages. Global goods trade has continued to decline in 2022, with China’s economy growing more slowly because of COVID-19 related lockdowns (among other factors). The lockdowns have brought much of the world’s largest port, Shanghai, to a standstill. Supply chain disruptions due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict are also adding to the downward pressure on trade.

Source: IATA