Global air cargo demand surges in April, reports IATA

IATA Reports Strong Growth in April 2024 Air Cargo Markets

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for April 2024, highlighting a robust annual growth in global air cargo demand as the second quarter begins. Demand surged by 11.1% in April, suggesting a deepening resilience in the air cargo sector despite ongoing economic uncertainties. IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh noted that recent growth in air cargo demand occurred even when economic indicators, such as the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), hinted at potential contraction. With the PMI now showing growth, Walsh emphasised an even stronger outlook for continued demand.

Several key factors contributed to this positive trend:

  • In April, PMIs for global manufacturing output and new export orders registered positive figures at 51.5 and 50.5, respectively. This marks the first growth in new export orders PMI in two years.
  • Industrial production saw a 1.6% year-on-year increase in March, even as global cross-border trade contracted by 0.8%.
  • Inflation rates remained relatively stable in major economies: 3.4% in the US, 2.6% in the EU, and 2.5% in Japan. China reported a modest 0.2% increase in consumer prices year-on-year, a positive indicator amidst concerns over its economic slowdown.

Regional Performance Highlights

Asia-Pacific airlines led the growth with a remarkable 14.0% year-on-year increase in demand for air cargo in April. The intra-Asia market witnessed a 13.2% rise compared to April 2023, while the Asia-Europe route experienced a significant 17.7% growth. The Middle East-Asia route saw a 10.4% increase, though this was a 9.5 percentage points (ppt) decrease from March’s growth rate. Additionally, capacity in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 7.8% year-on-year.

This data underscores the resilience and strong performance of the global air cargo market as it enters the second quarter of 2024, buoyed by positive economic indicators and regional growth.