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AIR CARGO UP 7.7% IN AUGUST VERSUS PRE-COVID LEVELS; CAPACITY LAGGING DEMAND

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released August 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that demand continued its strong growth trend but pressure on capacity is rising.


As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons below are to August 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.

  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was up 7.7% compared to August 2019 (8.6% for international operations). Overall growth remains strong compared to the long-term average growth trend of around 4.7%.

  • The pace of growth slowed slightly compared to July, which saw demand increase 8.8% (against pre-COVID-19 levels).

  • Cargo capacity recovery paused in August, down 12.2% compared to August 2019 ( 13.2% for international operations). In month-on-month terms, capacity fell by 1.6% – the largest drop since January 2021.

Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth but are slightly weaker than in the previous months indicating that global manufacturing growth has peaked:

  • The August manufacturing output component of the Purchasing Managers Indices (PMIs) was 51.9, indicating a short-term boost to demand if those orders are shipped by air. This was a decline from 54.4 in July.

  • The August new export orders component of the PMIs was favorable for air cargo, despite being less supportive than in the previous months. Expansion continued at the global level, however, there was contraction in emerging economies.

  • The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low ahead of the peak year-end retail season. This is positive for air cargo, however further capacity constraints put this at risk.


Source: BIFA

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