September 2021 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis 
Published November 3, 2021.  

Cargo volumes stable


  • The period of stability at elevated air cargo volumes continued in September, with industry-wide cargo tonnekilometres (CTKs) growing by 9.1% compared to September 2019. This was an improvement compared to the 7.5% increase in August, but seasonally adjusted (SA) CTKs only increased marginally month-on-month.
  • Trends in the main drivers of air cargo are tangled currently. The upshot is that trade and manufacturing activity are impacted by supply chain issues, but air cargo benefits from its speed, which helps meeting peak season demand and will allow it to continue to overperform global goods trade.
  • Cargo capacity improved in September, but is still 8.9% below 2019 levels. Load factors remain close to record-highs and cargo yields are now trending upwards. This continues to provide welcome support to airlines’ revenues.

African airlines lead growth rate for 9th consecutive month
African airlines grew at the fastest rate among the regions for the ninth consecutive months (34.6% in September vs pre-crisis 2019 levels). In SA terms, CTKs are more than 20% above their pre-crisis peak (Nov 2019), but the trend has broadly gone sideways for the past six months or so.

Air cargo volume have been stable at high levels

The air cargo market remained broadly stable in September. Industry-wide cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) rose by 9.1% in September 2021 versus the same month in 2019, after a 7.5% increase in August. After adjusting for seasonal patterns, CTKs were a modest 0.2% higher in September 2021 compared to August 2021. This extends a series of months without any clear direction in the trend of air cargo volumes, with seasonally adjusted (SA) CTKs remaining slightly below the all-time high reached in April 2021...Download the full document here.