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News 2023

March 2023 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis

Published May 4. IATA Economic Reports.

Air cargo demand decreases


  • Global air cargo demand decreased in March, but at a slower rate than in February and January, with cargo tonnekilometers (CTKs) falling by 7.7% year-on-year (YoY). This reflects a continued trend of improvement compared to the steep annual decline of -16.8% observed in January and double-digit decreases in earlier months.
  • Air cargo capacity grew 9.9% YoY, primarily due to the increasing belly-hold capacity from passenger aircraft. As a result, cargo load factors fell to 46.2%, 8.8 percentage points (ppts) lower than last year’s load factors.
  • The diminished strength of fundamental air cargo drivers, such as trade and manufacturing exports, continued to dampen potential gains in air cargo traffic, as global new export orders remained weak for a full year.
  • While China’s reopening has helped its economic outlook and cargo traffic on Asia Pacific trade lanes, its new export orders retreated in March after a slight improvement in February. Other major economies we track also saw contractions in their new export orders in March compared to February.

African airline cargo volumes decrease by 6.2% YoY 

African airlines registered a decline of 6.2% in March, which was an improvement over the 7.4% YoY fall recorded in February. IATA reports significant cargo demand growth on African-Asian routes in March. 

Air cargo demand remained weak in March

Industry-wide CTKs continued to slow their annual decline in March. The YoY contraction of CTKs narrowed further from -9.4% in February to -7.7% in March, which is a substantial improvement from the -16.8% fall in January. Download the full report.