January 2020 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Challenging time for air cargo in the period ahead…


  • Industry-wide air cargo tonne kilometres contracted by 3.3% year-on-year in January, about a 2 percentage points faster pace of decline compared to the previous month. Seasonally adjusted volumes also ticked down amidst a softer performance from European and Middle Eastern carriers.
  • The timing of the Chinese New Year holiday along with the progress in the US-China trade negotiations helped to postpone the bulk of the negative impact of the coronavirus on air cargo till February.
  • With capacity growing against contracting demand, the industry-wide cargo load factor eased by 1.9 percentage points over the past twelve months.

African airlines continue to lead the growth chart…
African carriers topped the international CTK growth chart for the 11th consecutive month amidst solid growth on the smaller Africa-Asia trade lanes (up 12.4% in 2019). However, the 7.0% expansion in January represented a sharp slowdown from December and also a softer pace compared to H2 2019 (average of 11%). SA air cargo volumes also fell, but the drop did not distort an underlying solid upward trend that emerged in mid-2018. The relatively small size of Africa market (1.8% of the total) helps to explain the larger volatility this month.

Air cargo started the year on the soft note

Industry-wide air cargo tonne kilometres (CTKs) declined by 3.3% year-on-year in January compared to the 1.4% annual contraction in the previous month. The underlying seasonally adjusted (SA) air cargo volumes also eased, driven by a softer performance of European and Middle Eastern carriers. Download the full document here.