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News 2023

May 2023 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis

Published July 5. IATA Economic Reports.

Air cargo demand weakens


  • Industry-wide air cargo demand in May was 5.2% below last year’s level. The annual decline in cargo tonnekilometers, however, has narrowed from 16.8% in January to 9.0% year-to-date in May.
  • Available cargo-tonne kilometers continued to climb this month after returning to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in April. ACTKs grew by 14.5% year-on-year and were 5.9% above May 2019 levels.
  • Key indicators of air cargo demand, including cross-border trade, new export orders PMI, and production PMI, were weaker in May, pointing to the constraints on supply chains and the slowing global economy.
  • Carriers in Latin America expanded their international cargo demand in May, amid falling volumes in other regions.

African airline cargo volumes contracted by 2.4% in May 

International CTKs for African airlines contracted from -1.4% YoY in April to -2.4% in May. Though CTK’s on the Africa-Asia trade lane increased in May, their growth slowed significantly from 18.5% in April to 11.0% YoY in May, possibly due to the impact of the conflict in Sudan since April. 

Decline in CTKs slowed down further in May

Cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) across the industry experienced a 5.2% decline in May year-on-year (YoY), reflecting sustained improvement from the double-digit contractions witnessed earlier in 2023. Consequently, the annual contraction in CTKs has narrowed from 16.8% in January to 9.0% year-to-date (YTD) in May. In comparison to May 2019 levels, industry CTKs fell by 7.0%, contracting more than the 5.0% decline observed last month. On a positive note, seasonally adjusted (SA) CTKs slightly improved by 1 percentage point (ppt) compared to the April level, albeit still with an annual decline of 5.3% in May. Download the full report.