Demand in global air cargo markets continued its strong growth trend in July 2021.

  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was up 8.6% compared with July 2019. Overall growth remains strong compared to the long-term average growth trend of about 4.7%.
  • The pace of growth slowed slightly compared with June which saw demand increase 9.2% (against pre-COVID-19 levels).
  • Capacity continues to recover but is still 10.3% down compared with July 2019.  
  • Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth.

“July was another solid month for global air cargo demand. Economic conditions indicate that the strong growth trend will continue into the peak year-end demand period. The Delta variant of COVID-19 could bring some risks. If supply chains and production lines are disrupted, there is potential for a knock-on effect for air cargo shipments,” said Wille Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo increase 4.4% in July 2021 compared with the same month in 2019, and an improvement compared with the previous month’s 3.9% expansion. Demand is being affected by an easing of momentum in key activity indicators in Asia, and by congested supply chains.

North American carriers posted a 20.5% increase in international demand in July 2021 compared with July 2019. This was in line with June’s performance (19.8%) and the strongest of all regions. New export orders and demand for faster shipping times are underpinning the North American performance.

European carriers posted a 6.0% increase in demand in July 2021 compared with the same month in 2019. This was a marginal decrease compared with the previous month (6.8%). Manufacturing activity, orders and supplier delivery times are still favorable to air cargo.

Middle Eastern carriers posted an 11.3% rise in international cargo volumes in July 2021 versus July 2019. This was a decrease compared with the previous month (15.8%). Some routes, however, are still posting strong performance, for example on the large Middle East–Asia trade lanes.

Latin American carriers reported a decline of 10.2% in international cargo volumes in July compared with the 2019 period, an improvement from the -21.5% fall recorded in June. Although Latin America continues to show the weakest regional performance, the comparison with pre-crisis traffic levels has been highly volatile in recent months. Several trade routes to/from Latin America are performing well, such as North-Central and North-South America and Europe-South America, confirming that demand for air cargo in the region is recovering from the crisis. 

African airlines’ cargo demand statistics were unavailable at time of going to press.

 

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