The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for September 2023 global air cargo markets, showing continuing demand recovery. According to IATA, “Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), increased by 1.9% compared to September 2022 levels (+1.6% for international operations) while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), was up 12.1% compared to September 2022 (+11.0% for international operations). Growth was largely related to international belly capacity which rose 31.5% year-on-year as airlines scaled up operations to meet peak-northern summer travel season demand.”
According to the report, “African airlines saw their air cargo volumes decline by 0.1% in September 2023, despite the strong growth of demand on the Africa-Asia trade lane (+12.8%). This was an improvement in performance compared to August (-3.5%). Capacity was 2.7% above September 2022 levels.”
IATA stated that the following factors in the operating environment should be noted:
- In September, both the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers Index or PMI (49.7) and new export orders PMI (47.7) saw a slight improvement to the previous month. They remained, however, below the critical 50-point threshold, indicating a continuing, but slightly slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.
- Global cross-border trade contracted for the fifth month in a row in August, decreasing 3.8% year-over-year. This reflects the cooling global macroeconomic environment.
- Annual growth in US consumer prices stabilized in September at 3.7%, 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, deflation-fighting policy measures saw an annual rise in consumer prices of 0.1%.
In September, the average price of jet fuel was USD 131.0 per barrel, marking a 43.1% increase from the May 2023 price. Recouping some of this added cost from surcharges in September contributed to the first increase in air cargo yields since November 2022.
“Air cargo eked out modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling trade volumes and high jet fuel prices. That clearly shows the strength of air cargo’s value proposition. With the key export order and manufacturing PMIs hovering near positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic for a strong year-end peak season,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.