African airlines saw their air cargo volumes grow by 2.9% in July 2023 compared to the same month last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports.
The AITA released data for July 2023 air cargo markets earlier this week, stating the global air cargo industry registered 20.7 billion cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) in July, extending its steady improvement since February.
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Year-on-year (YoY) industry CTKs narrowed the gap, now standing at 0.8% below July 2022 levels, while remaining 3.3% lower than their pre-pandemic level in 2019.
Although demand is basically flat compared to 2022, IATA officials see the figure as an improvement on recent months’ performance. This is “particularly significant” given declines in global trade volumes and rising concerns over China’s economy, per Iata’s market analysis.
The positive development in international air cargo demand was driven by the YoY growth achieved by airlines in Africa and the Middle East.
Asia Pacific Airlines also experienced their first year-on-year growth in cargo traffic since March 2022. This was driven by increased trade with other regions and significant market improvements within Asia, according to IATA analysis.
African and Middle Eastern airlines also benefited from this trend, seeing 1.5% and 2.8% annual growth in July, respectively.
Airlines in Latin America meanwhile faced an annual decline of 0.2% in their international CTKs in July, after growing 1.9% YoY in the previous month.
North American and European airlines also registered YoY contractions of 1.8% and 1.5% this month, respectively. Nonetheless, these figures represent an improvement from their performances in June.
“How this trend will evolve in the coming months will be something to watch carefully,” Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, said.
According to Walsh, many fundamental drivers of air cargo demand, such as trade volumes and export orders, “remain weak or are deteriorating.”
“At the same time, we are seeing shorter delivery times, which is normally a sign of increasing economic activity,” Walsh said. The global supplier delivery time in July’s Purchasing Managers Index was 51.9, signaling fewer supply chain delays.
“Amid these mixed signals, strengthening demand gives us good reason to be cautiously optimistic,” said the director general of the Association, which represents some 300 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.