August 2021 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis 
Published September 29, 2021.  

Air cargo volumes above pre-Covid


  • August was the fourth consecutive month of relative stability in air cargo. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) rose by 7.7% vs. August 2019, compared with an 8.8% expansion in July. After removing seasonality from the data, CTKs continued to trend sideways, well above the pre-pandemic levels.
  • Developments in key demand drivers such as manufacturing production and export orders remain supportive to the near-term cargo demand, but pandemic-related supply chain disruptions have been impacting cargo capacity and putting an upward pressure on cargo rates.
  • Industry-wide cargo load factor (CLF) reached a record high outcome for any month of August, at 54.2%. CLFs remained elevated across all regions and were the highest in Asia Pacific

African airlines outperformed again
African airlines continued to lead the international CTK growth chart in August, reporting a 33.9% expansion vs. August 2019 – a 1.1ppts improvement on the growth in the same metric in July. Amongst the key regional routes, Africa-Asia has been showing the fastest expansion, at 26.4% vs. two years ago.

Growth in air cargo remained robust in August

Air cargo demand has stabilized over the past four months at levels well above the pre-pandemic period. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) rose by 7.7% in August 2021 vs. August 2019, which is only modestly slower than in July (8.8%) and well above the long-term monthly average of 4.7%. After removing seasonality from the data, global cargo volumes continued to trend sideways. Growth and CTK levels were stable also across most regions, although at different rates. African carriers reported the fastest CTK expansion for another month, at 32.4% vs. pre-crisis August 2019, followed by North American airlines (19.3%). In contrast, Latin American CTKs continued to decline sharply (-13.2%)....Download the full document here.