August air cargo growth up 7.7% – capacity plummets

by | 4 Oct 2021 | International News, RSA News

Cargo growth has continued its upward trajectory, according to the latest figures released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

But August 2021 data show that while growth is continuing, pressure on capacity is rising.

Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the impact of Covid-19, the comparisons below refer to August 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.

  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 7.7% (8.6% for international operations). Overall growth remains strong compared to the long-term average growth trend of around 4.7%.
  • The pace of growth slowed slightly compared to July, which saw demand increase 8.8% (against pre-Covid-19 levels).
  • Cargo capacity recovery paused in August, down 12.2 (‑13.2% for international operations). In month-on-month terms, capacity fell by 1.6% – the largest drop since January 2021.

Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth but are slightly weaker than in previous months, indicating that global manufacturing growth has peaked, according to Iata.

African airlines recorded the largest growth of all regions, with international cargo volumes up 33.9%. Investment flows along the Africa-Asia route continue to drive the regional outcomes, with volumes on the route up 26.4% over two years ago. International capacity decreased 2.1%.

“Air cargo demand had another strong month. Many of the economic indicators point to a strong year-end peak season. With international travel still severely depressed, there are fewer passenger planes offering belly capacity for cargo. And supply chain bottlenecks could intensify as businesses continue to ramp up production,” said Willie Walsh, Iata’s director-general.