IATA: Air cargo demand increased 1.9% in September

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air cargo markets for September 2023, showing continued recovery in demand

(Source: IATA)

Global demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (CTK*), increased by 1.9% compared to September 2022 levels (+6% for international operations).

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers (ACTK), increased by 12.1% compared to September 2022 (+0% for international operations). The growth was largely related to international belly capacity, which increased 31.5% year-on-year as airlines expanded operations to meet peak travel demand of the northern summer season.

Several factors must be taken into account in the operating environment:

In September, both the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index or PMI (49.7) and the New Export Orders PMI (47.7) saw a slight improvement from the previous month. However, they remained below the critical threshold of 50 points, indicating a continued, albeit slightly slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.

Global cross-border trade contracted for the fifth consecutive month in August, declining 3.8% year over year. This reflects the cooling of the global macroeconomic environment.

The annual growth of consumer prices in the United States stabilized at 3.7% in September, the same rate as in August. In Europe and Japan, consumer price inflation slowed by 1.0 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, to 4.9% and 3.0% (also respectively). In China, policy measures to combat deflation led to an annual increase in consumer prices of 0.1%.

In September, the average jet fuel price was $131.0 per barrel, up 43.1% from the May 2023 price. Recovering some of this additional cost from surcharges in September contributed to the first increase in air cargo throughput since November 2022.

"Air cargo achieved modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling trade volumes and high jet fuel prices. This clearly shows the strength of the air cargo value proposition. With With key export orders and manufacturing PMIs hovering in positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic for a strong peak season later in the year," said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

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