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Air cargo tracks near pre-COVID levels

IATA released data for July 2022 global air cargo markets showing that demand continued to track at near pre-pandemic levels.
air cargo

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for July 2022 global air cargo markets showing that demand continued to track at near pre-pandemic levels in July (-3.5%), but below July 2021 performance (-9.7%). 

  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), fell 9.7% compared to July 2021 (-10.2% for international operations). Demand stood at -3.5% compared to July 2019.
     
  • Capacity was 3.6% above July 2021 (+6.8% for international operations) but still 7.8% below July 2019 levels. 
     
  • Several factors in the operating environment should be noted: 
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    • New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand, decreased in all markets, except China which began a sharp upward trend in June.  
       
    • The war in Ukraine continues to impair cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. 
       
    • Global goods trade continued to recover in Q2 and the additional easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China will further boost recovery in coming months. While maritime will be the main beneficiary, air cargo is set to receive a boost. 

“Air cargo is tracking at near 2019 levels although it has taken a step back compared to the extra-ordinary performance of 2020-2021. Volatility resulting from supply chain constraints and evolving economic conditions has seen cargo markets essentially move sideways since April.

“July data shows us that air cargo continues to hold its own, but as is the case for almost all industries, we’ll need to carefully watch both economic and political developments over the coming months,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.  

The challenges and opportunities facing the air cargo industry will be discussed at the World Cargo Symposium which will gather the air cargo industry in London, 27 – 29 September. 

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