IATA: air freight demand up slightly in September

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L’International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its monthly data on the global markets of air freight for September 2023, confirming a modest but continuing recovery demand.

Global demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (CTK), increased by 1.9% in September 2023 compared to September 2022 levels (+6% for international operations). Capacity, measured in available freight tonne-kilometers (ACTK), is up 12.1% compared to September 2022 (+0% for international operations). The growth was largely linked to international air capacity which rose 31.5% year-on-year as airlines ramped up operations to meet peak demand in the northern summer season.

According to IATA, several operating environment factors must be taken into account:

In September, the purchasing managers’ index of manufacturing production or PMI (49.7) and the PMI of new export orders (47.7) saw a slight improvement compared to the previous month. However, they remained below the critical threshold of 50 points, indicating a continued, albeit slightly slower, annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.

Global cross-border trade contracted for the fifth consecutive month in August, falling 3.8% year-on-year. This reflects the slowdown in the global macroeconomic environment.

Annual growth in consumer prices in the United States stabilized in September at 3.7%, the same rate as in August. In Europe and Japan, consumer price inflation slowed by 1.0 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, to 4.9% and 3.0% (also respectively). In China, policy measures to combat deflation led to an annual increase in consumer prices of 0.1%.

In September, the average price of jet fuel was $131 per barrel, an increase of 43.1% from the price in May 2023. Recouping some of this additional cost through surcharges in September contributed to the first increase in air cargo yields since November 2022.

Air cargo recorded modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling commercial volumes and high jet fuel prices. This clearly shows the strength of the air freight value proposition. With key export orders and manufacturing PMIs close to positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic about a strong year-end peak season“, said Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA.

John Walker Avatar