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News 2023

April 2023 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis

Published May 31. IATA Economic Reports.

Cargo traffic decline slows


  • Global air cargo demand in April continued its year-on-year decline at a slower rate than the first three months of 2023, with cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) falling by 6.6% compared to April 2022.
  • Industry-wide cargo capacity returned pre-pandemic levels for the first time in three years, with available cargotonne kilometers (ACTKs) surpassing April 2019 levels by 3.2%.
  • Global cross-border trade and new export orders PMIs, the two critical indicators of air cargo demand, both saw year-on-year growth for the first time in several months.
  • North American airlines experienced notable declines in international CTKs compared to the previous year, primarily due to decreased air cargo traffic on the North America-Europe and North America-Asia trade lanes.

African airline cargo volumes increased 20% on the Africa-Asia trade lane 

African airlines made the only positive contribution to the YoY change in industry-wide CTKs among the various regions and showed improvements in their international cargo performance compared to the previous month's YoY change. This trend was supported by the notable 20.0% annual increase in cargo demand on the Africa-Asia trade lane. The remarkable performance in this route area reflects the strengthening trade relationship between Africa and Asia, particularly the commercial ties between China and African countries.    

Air cargo continues to decline at a slower pace

Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) in April were 6.6% below their 2022 levels. Despite the decline, this represents a continued improvement from the double-digit annual contractions of CTKs earlier in 2023. As a result, the gap between 2022 and 2023 year-to-date CTKs has narrowed from -16.8% in January to -10.1% in April. Download the full report.