IATA releases March 2022 data for global air cargo markets, showing drop in demand

©Lufthansa Cargo

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released March 2022 data for global air cargo markets showing a drop in demand. The effects of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Asia, the Russia – Ukraine war and a challenging operating backdrop contributed to the decline.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell 5.2% compared to March 2021 (-5.4% for international operations). Capacity was 1.2% above March 2021 (+2.6% for international operations). While this is in positive territory, it is a significant decline from the 11.2% year-on-year increase in February. Asia and Europe experienced the largest falls in capacity.

Several factors in the operating environment should be noted:

The war in Ukraine led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. Sanctions against Russia led to disruptions in manufacturing and rising oil prices are having a negative economic impact, including raising costs for shipping.

New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand, are now shrinking in all markets except the U.S. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicator tracking global new export orders fell to 48.2 in March. This was the lowest since July 2020.

Global goods trade has continued to decline in 2022, with China’s economy growing more slowly because of COVID-19 related lockdowns (among other factors); and supply chain disruptions amplified by the war in Ukraine.

General consumer price inflation for the G7 countries was at 6.3% year-on-year in February 2022, the highest since 1982.

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