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In brief

  L      2022

May 2022 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis

Published July 7, 2022. IATA Economic Reports.

Air cargo demand stable


  • Seasonally adjusted cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) expanded slightly, up by 0.3% in May from April, marking a welcome respite after two consecutive months of decline.
  • Compared with a year ago, May CTKs were 8.3% lower, a slight improvement from the 9.1% drop year-on-year (YoY) in April. The result has been supported by an increase in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs) of 2.7% in May YoY.
  • Disruptions to supply still exist though the situation has improved significantly. Notably, the lockdowns in China due to the Omicron wave have been eased. While other regions experienced some contraction in volumes, carriers in Asia Pacific have countered earlier declines with a 3.1% increase in May compared with April.
  • The coming months will see, on the one hand, capacity constraints easing as some regions bring capacity online and, on the other hand, downward pressure on demand will likely increase as inflation remains elevated.

Africa's air cargo volumes continue to decrease
African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 1.5% in May 2022 compared to May 2021. This was significantly slower than the growth recorded the previous month (6.3%). Capacity was 3.0% above May 2021 levels. Africa will not be spared the impact of global inflation, and many of its subcomponents, that are at their highest levels in decades. The gap between jet fuel and crude oil prices remains significant, with the producer price inflation (PPI) continuing to apply pressure on the global economy. Higher consumer prices are also a dampener on consumer spending, and this affects air cargo demand.

CTK volumes stabilize

Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) were down 8.3% in May YoY. This is a slight improvement on the April decline of 9.1% YoY, signaling a modest easing of supply chain and capacity issues that are impacting air cargo operations.
    The recent declines in seasonally adjusted (SA) air cargo volumes paused in May, with a 0.3% expansion compared with April (MoM), (Chart 1). This is a welcome respite after two consecutive months of falling air cargo volumes, which lead to a 7% contraction between February and April 2022.
    China has eased the lockdowns imposed in response to the Omicron wave and although disruptions to supply still exist, the situation has improved. However, the war in Ukraine still impairs capacity used to serve Europe, as several airlines based in Ukraine and Russia were crucial carriers in the region...Download the full report.