Air cargo volumes rise 11% in April

Photo: Jaromir Chalabala/ Shutterstock

Air cargo demand remained robust in April to mark the fifth consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year growth, although growth slowed month-on-month.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for April showing total demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), rose by 11.1% compared to April 2023 levels.

The trade association said robust international air cargo traffic was “likely supported by booming e-commerce and capacity constraints in global maritime shipping”.

“Air cargo demand started Q2 with a solid 11.1% increase. While many economic uncertainties remain, it appears that the roots of air cargo’s strong performance are deepening. In recent months, air cargo demand grew even when the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was indicating the potential for contraction. With the PMI now indicating growth, the prospects for continued strong demand are even more robust,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Although the 21.7bn CTKs globally recorded by airlines in April represented a growth of 11.1% year on year, this was in fact a 6.5% reduction month-on-month.

Meanwhile, capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), increased by 7.1% compared to April 2023, a similar growth to last month.

“The persistent capacity growth driven by returning passenger aircraft experienced a reduction in pace,” said IATA.

The global economy has been performing well, IATA noted. In April, the PMIs for global manufacturing output and new export orders turned positive (51.5 and 50.5 respectively). This is the first time in two years that the new export orders PMI has been in growth territory, said the trade body.

Industrial production increased by 1.6% in March year-on-year, while global cross-border trade contracted by 0.8%. Inflation remained relatively stable across the US, EU and Japan in April, with rates at 3.4%, 2.6%, and 2.5%, respectively. China reported a 0.2% increase in consumer prices year-on-year—a positive signal amid concerns over China’s economic slowdown, said IATA.

Worldwide, Asia Pacific airlines had the best performance of all regions, while North American carriers had the worst performance.

Source: IATA

Asia-Pacific airlines saw 14.0% year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in April, with the Asia-Europe route in particular growing by 17.7%.  

European carriers also saw 12.7% growth. Intra-European air cargo rose by a record 34.4% compared to April 2023, reflecting the highest annual growth in over a decade.

Latin American carriers recorded 11.7% growth, while African airlines achieved 10.6% growth. Demand on the Africa–Asia market increased by 25.8% year on year.

In comparison, Middle Eastern carriers saw 9.4% growth, although the Middle East–Europe market performed particularly well with 30.1% annual growth.

North American carriers saw 7% growth, however, the the North America-Europe route saw an increase of 5.6%, marking the largest demand growth for this route since September 2022. 

“Airlines from Asia Pacific and Europe recorded the highest growth rates, putting an end to the Middle Eastern carriers’ seven-month run in topping the region’s annual expansions,” said IATA.

IATA: March air cargo volumes up 10%

IATA reports an 11.9% jump in air cargo volumes for February

Share this story

Related Topics

Latest airlines news

SF Airlines launches Ezhou-Budapest air cargo route

SF Airlines has launched an air cargo route linking Ezhou Huahu Airport in central China’s Hubei Province with Budapest International…

Read More

Share this story

Korean picks Air Incheon as preferred Asiana cargo bidder

Air Incheon has been named as the preferred bidder for the sale of Asiana Airlines’ cargo business as part of…

Read More

Share this story

Lufthansa Cargo launches freighter flights from Munich

Lufthansa Cargo will expand its regional freighter network in July with the addition of flights from Munich Airport for the…

Read More

Share this story

Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]