Demand for air cargo for African airlines up 2.9%, says IATA

African airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 2.9% in October 2023, much improved compared to September’s performance (-0.1%).

Carriers in the region benefitted from the strongest annual growth since May (+16.7%). Capacity was 9.8% above the October 2022 levels.

This is contained in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for October 2023 global air cargo markets indicating the third consecutive month of stronger year-on-year demand.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs*), increased by 3.8% compared to October 2022. For international operations, the demand lagged slightly at 3.5%.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 13.1% compared to October 2022 (11.1% for international operations). This was largely related to the growth in belly capacity. International belly capacity, for example, rose 30.5% year-on-year on the strength of passenger markets.

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The clearing house for more than 300 international airlines said several factors in the operating environment contributed to this.

According to IATA, economic activities slowed in October, stressing that With the Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing output and export orders for major economies (excluding the US) remaining below the critical 50 mark, there is a clear marker for economic challenges ahead.

Inflation in major advanced economies continued to ease from its peak in terms of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), reaching between 3% and 4% for the US and for the EU respectively,

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in October. China’s CPI, however, indicated deflation for the second time this year, raising concerns of an economic slowdown.

The Director-General of IATA, Willie Walsh said, “Demand for air cargo was up 3.8% in October. That marks three consecutive months of year-on-year growth, placing air cargo on course to end 2023 on a much stronger footing than it began the year. Recovering demand, slightly stronger yields, and the uptick in trade are all good news.

“But with demand still 2.4% below pre-pandemic levels, and much uncertainty remaining over the trajectory of the global economy, optimism must be balanced with caution. Nonetheless, a continued strong peak year-end season will certainly help the sector to manage through whatever turns the global economy might take in 2024,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

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Wole Shadare