Air Cargo Volume Increased By 11% in A Month With Rising E-commerce Demand

Air Cargo Industry

April witnessed yet another robust surge in air cargo demand, maintaining a streak of five consecutive months with double-digit year-on-year growth, although the pace of growth moderated compared to the previous month.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its April data, revealing an 11.1% increase in total demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), compared to April 2023 levels.

IATA attributed this strong performance to the flourishing e-commerce sector and capacity constraints within global maritime shipping, stating that robust international air cargo traffic likely benefited from these factors.

Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA, remarked, “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.

Air Cargo Industry

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.”

Despite the impressive 11.1% year-on-year growth, totaling 21.7 billion CTKs globally in April, there was a 6.5% reduction in growth when compared month-on-month.

Regarding capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), there was a 7.1% increase compared to April 2023, similar to the growth observed in the previous month. IATA noted that the persistent growth in capacity, driven by the return of passenger aircraft, experienced a slowdown in pace.

IATA highlighted the positive performance of the global economy in April, noting that both the PMIs for global manufacturing output and new export orders turned positive for the first time in two years.

Additionally, industrial production increased by 1.6% year-on-year in March, while global cross-border trade contracted by 0.8%. Inflation rates remained relatively stable across various regions.

Air Cargo Industry

Regionally, Asia Pacific airlines demonstrated the strongest performance with a 14.0% year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in April, notably with the Asia-Europe route experiencing a significant growth of 17.7%.

European carriers also experienced substantial growth at 12.7%, with intra-European air cargo reaching a record 34.4% annual growth.

Latin American carriers recorded an 11.7% growth rate, while African airlines achieved 10.6% growth, with the Africa–Asia market witnessing a remarkable 25.8% increase in demand year-on-year.

Middle Eastern carriers saw a 9.4% growth rate, but the Middle East–Europe market stood out with a notable 30.1% annual growth.

Conversely, North American carriers experienced a 7% growth rate, with the North America-Europe route seeing the largest demand growth since September 2022 at 5.6%.

Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.