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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Air cargo shows signs of improvement

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

Air cargo demand slipped again in February but exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in eight months. The latest data from IATA show that demand in February fell 7.5% year on year in cargo tonne km (CTKs).

However, CTKs for the month were up 2.9% compared with February 2019 levels. The last time demand beat pre-pandemic levels was June of last year. Also, the decline was lower than the 14.9% year-on-year decline recorded in January and the 15.3% fall in December.

Cargo load factors for the month were down 7.9 percentage points compared with last year at 45.6% as capacity increased by 8.6%. The increase in capacity reflects the addition of belly capacity as the passenger side of the business continues to recover.

“International belly capacity grew by 57% in February year-over-year, reaching 75.1% of the 2019 (pre-pandemic) capacity,” IATA said. IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “The story of air cargo in February is one of slowing declines.

Year-on-year demand fell by 7.5%. That’s half the rate of decline experienced in January. Middle Eastern carriers experienced an 8.1% year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in February, while Latin American airlines suffered a 2.7% drop in demand.

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