02 June 2023


On 31 May, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that global air cargo markets experienced a continued decline in April 2023 compared to the previous year, although the rate of decline showed signs of slowing down. The global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell by 6.6% compared to April 2022, with international operations experiencing a slightly higher decline of 7.0%. However, this decline showed improvement compared to the previous month's performance, which saw a 7.6% drop.

In contrast, the capacity of air cargo increased significantly during the same period. Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTK), rose by 13.4% compared to April 2022. The increase in capacity was mainly driven by the recovery of passenger business, leading to the utilization of belly capacity. However, freighter capacity experienced a decline of 2.3%, as freighter operations were discontinued in March after a continuous period of 2.5 years.

The April performance of European carriers showed an 8.2% decrease in cargo volumes in April 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. This decline was slightly worse than the previous month's performance. The decrease in international demand was particularly significant on the North America-Europe (-13.5%) and intra-European (-16.1%) trade lanes. However, there was a positive offset with strong demand on the Europe-Asia route, which increased by 3.4%.

Willie Walsh, the Director General of IATA, highlighted the challenges faced by the air cargo industry due to the recovery of passenger demand and the expansion of belly capacity. The demand environment remains uncertain, although tapering inflation is seen as a positive factor.

Source: IATA