African airlines record decline in cargo in 2022

African airlines reported a 1.4 percent decline in air cargo in 2022, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) analysis of the global air cargo industry for the 2022 full year.

African airlines reported a decrease in demand of 1.4% for global and international demand in 2022 compared to 2021 and an increase in capacity of 0.3% (-0.2% for international operations).

Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID levels), demand was 8.3% above (+9.4% for international operations) and capacity was down 15.3% (-14.2% for international operations).

Nigerian airlines

In December, airlines in the region posted a 10.0% decrease in demand for both global and international operations compared to 2021. Capacity grew 1.3% (+0.2% for international operations) during the same period.

Air cargo demand is a useful barometer of global and regional trade, just as the continent’s airlines reported a 10% decrease in cargo demand and a 1.3% increase in cargo capacity.

The Director General of IATA, Willie Walsh said in the face of significant political and economic uncertainties, air cargo performance declined compared to the extraordinary levels of 2021.

This, he said had brought air cargo demand to 1.6% below 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels. The continuing measures by key governments to fight inflation by cooling economies, he said are expected to result in a further decline in cargo volumes in 2023 to -5.6% compared to 2019.

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“It will, however, take time for these measures to bite into cargo rates. So, the good news for air cargo is that average yields and total revenue for 2023 should remain well above what they were pre-pandemic. That should provide some respite in what is likely to be a challenging trading environment in the year ahead,” said Walsh”.

Asia-Pacific airlines posted an 8.8% decrease in demand in 2022 compared to 2021 (-7.4% for international operations) and a capacity increase of 0.5% (+5.8% for international operations). Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID levels), demand was 7.8% below (-3.9% for international operations) and capacity was down 17.2% (-12.2% for international operations). In December, Asia-Pacific airlines recorded the worst performance of all regions, posting a 21.2% decrease in demand (-20.4% for international operations) compared to 2021. Capacity fell 3.9% (-1.4% for international operations) during the same period. Airlines in the region continue to be impacted by lower levels of trade and manufacturing activity and disruptions in supply chains due to China’s rising COVID cases.

Some African airlines

North American carriers reported a 5.1% decrease in demand in 2022 compared to 2021 (-6.3% for international operations) and a capacity increase of 4.2% (+4.9% for international operations). Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID levels), demand was 13.7% above (+12.7% for international operations) and capacity was up 8.2% (5.1% for international operations). In December, airlines in the region reported an 8.5% decrease in demand for both global and international operations, compared to 2021. Capacity fell 2.9% (+1.8% for international operations) during the same period.

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European carriers posted the worst year-on-year performance of all regions, with an 11.5% decrease in demand in 2022 compared to 2021 (-11.8% for international operations). During the same period, airlines posted a capacity increase of 0.5% for both global and international operations. Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID levels), demand was 8.7% below (-9.1% for international operations) and capacity was down 16.5% (-17.3% for international operations). In December, airlines in the region posted a 17.4% decrease in demand (-17.9% for international operations) compared to 2021. Capacity fell 7.0% (-7.4% for international operations) during the same period. Airlines in the region continue to be most affected by the war in Ukraine.

 Middle Eastern carriers reported a decrease of 10.7% in global and international demand in 2022 compared to 2021 and an increase in capacity of 4.3% (+4.5% for international operations). Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID levels), demand was 1.6% below for global and international operations and capacity was down 6.3% (-6.1% for international operations). In December airlines in the region posted a 14.4% decrease in demand for both global and international operations compared to 2021. Capacity increased by 2.8% (+3.0% for international operations) during the same period.

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Some Nigerian airlines

Latin American carriers posted the strongest year-on-year performance of all regions, with a 13.1% increase in demand in 2022 compared to 2021 (+15.0% for international operations). During the same period, airlines posted a capacity increase of 27.1% (+27.8% for international operations). Compared to 2019 (pre-COVID levels), demand was 4.3% below (-2.6% for international operations) and capacity was down 14.3% (-10.8% for international operations). In December airlines in the region posted stagnant growth in demand (+2.3% for international operations) compared to 2021. Capacity grew by 27.6% (+32.7% for international operations) during the same period.

Wole Shadare