April 2021 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis 
Published June 9, 2021.  

Air cargo continues upward trend


  • Global cargo volumes continue to trend upwards at a strong pace. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) grew by 12.0% in April compared to pre-crisis values in April 2019. Seasonally adjusted CTKs rose by 4.0% month-on-month, and are now around 5% above the pre-crisis peak of August 2018, before US-China trade wars had started.
  • The industry is supported by a strong economic rebound as well as favourable supply chain dynamics, notably very low inventory levels and more competitive pricing relative to container shipping in recent months.
  • Both air cargo rates and volumes are close to all-time high values, providing strong financial support to a number of airlines.
  • Airlines in most regions are posting strong volume performance, notably in Africa and North America. But airlines based in Latin America are losing market shares to carriers elsewhere and have performed poorly in recent months.

African airlines' international CTKs rise 30.6% compared to pre-pandemic 2019 figures
Airlines based in Africa posted a fourth consecutive month of growth at or above 25% versus 2019. Indeed in April, their international CTKs rose by 30.6% compared to April 2019. This is mostly driven by CTKs flown on routes between Asia and Africa, which have not been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Global air cargo volumes on a robust upward trend

Global air cargo volumes climbed further in April amid a V-shaped economic recovery and broadly supportive conditions, and despite the lack of capacity. Indeed, industry-wide cargo tonnekilometres (CTKs) were up 12.0% in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. This strength partly reflects a weak month of April 2019, when the industry was affected by the US-China trade dispute...Download the full document here.