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In brief

  L      2022

January 2022 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis

Published March 9, 2022. IATA Economic Reports.

Air cargo growth slows down


  • Industry-wide cargo ton kilometers (CTKs) continued to grow in January 2022, rising 2.7% year-on-year (YoY). The pace slowed quite markedly from December, however, when the rise was 9.3% YoY. Seasonally adjusted CTKs dropped by 3.6% month-on-month in January.
  • The soft patch in cargo growth is due to a combination of weaker economic drivers, and operational disruptions mainly related to the impact of Omicron on air passenger traffic and air cargo capacity. The conflict in Eastern Europe is creating significant fresh challenges, notably in air cargo rates and capacity as well as economic activity.
  • All the regions outside of Africa faced slower growth, but North America and Asia Pacific were the most impacted.

Important notice: January figures do not include any impact from the Russia-Ukraine conflict which began at the end of February. The resulting sanctions and airspace closures are expected to have a negative impact on travel, primarily among neighbouring countries. Airspace closures have led to rerouting or cancellations of flights on routes, mostly in Europe-Asia but also in Asia-North America.

Africa growth rate top performer
Carriers registered in Africa were the best international performers in January, with YoY growth in their international CTK levels of 12.3%. That was similar to December (13.1%), but below the growth seen for most of 2021 when traffic was rapidly recovering from the depths of the pandemic.

Air cargo grew at a softer pace in January…

An array of disruptions that includes the Omicron variant, as well as weakness in some key drivers, caused air cargo growth to soften in January 2022. Cargo ton kilometers (CTKs) were up 2.7% YoY compared to a 9.3% YoY in December, the lowest YoY growth rate since December 2020. Encouragingly though, CTKs were 5.1% above January 2019 levels.
    Seasonally adjusted (SA) CTKs confirm that deterioration, with a 3.6% decline month-on-month (MoM) in January, the worst outcome since April 2020. The sideways trend in air cargo volumes that started in Q2 2021 looks to have been interrupted.

    North America and Asia Pacific contributed to a large part of the softening in growth this month, but all the regions outside of Africa performed worse in December...Download the full report.