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  L      2022

In brief

  L      2022


December 2021 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Published January 25, 2022. IATA Economic Reports.

Air cargo volumes up


Highlights

  • Growth in industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) rebounded in December, to 8.9% above December 2019, up from 3.9% from November. In 2021 overall, air cargo volumes rose by 18.7% year-on-year, the second-best yearly performance since our series started in 1990 (behind 2010). Volumes were 3.5% above the pre-crisis 2018 peak.
  • Throughout the year, air cargo has been driven by a balance between robust demand for goods – including PPE at the end of the year – and supply chain issues partly linked to a lack of capacity. CTKs growth markedly overperformed growth in global goods trade (by 8.9 percentage points), partly due to the inventory restocking cycle.
  • In 2021, available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs) fell by 10.9% compared to 2019. Capacity did nevertheless come back slowly during the year due to improvements in international passenger traffic. In December 2021, ACTKs were only 4.7% below the same month in 2019. The tight market led to exceptionally high load factor and air cargo rates.

Air cargo growth rate in Africa remains positive
Carriers in Africa experienced a 7.6% increase in their international CTKs in December 2021 versus the same month in 2019, up from 1.0% in November. Growth in the region has been dynamic for most of the year, up 11.3% versus 2019, driven by the Africa-Asia route. Africa’s market share caught up with Latin America in 2021 for the first time in the annual series (2.2% of international CTKs).


Air cargo ends a dynamic year on a strong note…

December 2021 saw a modest easing of the disruption that gripped air cargo during part of the year and caused a slowdown in growth in November. Together with robust demand, that helped industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) rise 8.9% above 2019 levels in December. This is up from 3.9% in November and the best performance since April 2021 (11.4%). When compared to 2020, growth was roughly similar in December (8.4%) and November (9.0%).
    Seasonally adjusted (SA) CTKs increased by 1.9% month-on-month in December, also the best outcome since April. 2021 as a whole was a strong year for air cargo, with volumes growing by 18.7% year-on-year, the best annual performance since our series started in 1990. CTKs were 3.5% above the previous peak year of 2018. That came after a 9.9% year-on-year fall in CTKs in 2020, the largest decline in the time series. Note that in 2010, CTKs rebounded by 20.6% after a 9.7% decline the year prior...Download the full report.