IATA: Mixed signals for cargo as demand drops in November

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There are mixed signals regarding air cargo’s outlook after November saw another double-digit percentage decline in demand.

The latest IATA statistics show that airfreight demand in cargo tonne km terms (CTK) declined by 13.7% year on year in November.

Capacity for the month fell by 1.9% against last year and load factors were down 6.7 percentage points to 49.1%.

The decline is the ninth demand decline in a row and reflects high inflation that is curtailing the spending capacity of households, the ongoing war in Ukraine disrupting trade flows, and the “unusual” strength of the US dollar making commodities traded in dollars more expensive in local currency terms.

Source: IATA

Looking ahead, the airline association said the outlook was mixed.

“Air cargo performance softened in November, the traditional peak season,” said IATA director general Willie Walsh.

“Resilience in the face of economic uncertainties is demonstrated with demand being relatively stable on a month-to-month basis. But market signals are mixed.

“November presented several indicators with upside potential: oil prices stabilised, inflation slowed and there was a slight expansion in goods traded globally. But shrinking export orders globally and China’s rising Covid cases are cause for careful monitoring.”

Looking at regional performance, airlines based in the Asia Pacific region suffered the largest percentage decline as demand in CTK terms fell 18.6% year on year.

“Airlines in the region continue to be impacted by lower levels of trade and manufacturing activity and disruptions in supply chains due to China’s rising Covid cases,” IATA said.

North American carriers saw their cargo traffic slide by 6.6% year on year in November, which was an improvement on the 8.6% fall registered in October.

European carriers noted a 16.5% decline in November.

“This was an improvement in performance compared to October thanks to the stronger new export orders in Germany,” IATA said.

“Airlines in the region continue to be most affected by the war in Ukraine. High inflation levels, most notably in Türkiye, also affected volumes.”

Middle Eastern carriers noted a 14.7% year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in November as they were affected by cargo volumes heading to/from Europe.

Latin American carriers registered the strongest performance of any region as demand increased by 2.8%. Finally, African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 6.3% in November.

IATA predicts 4% drop in air cargo volumes next year

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]