(29 July 2021)
IATA’s June 2021 data for global air cargo markets shows a 9.9% improvement on pre-COVID19 performance (June
That pushed H1 2021 air cargo growth to 8%, its
strongest first half performance since 2017, when the industry
posted 10.2% year-on-year growth.
Global demand for June 2021,
measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 9.9% compared
to June 2019. Regional variations in performance are
significant, however. North American carriers contributed 5.9 percentage
points (ppts) to the 9.9% growth rate in June. Middle East
carriers contributed 2.1 ppts, European airlines 1.6 ppts, African
airlines 0.5 ppts and Asia-Pacific carriers 0.3 ppts. Latin
American carriers did not support the growth, shaving 0.5 ppts off
Overall capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), remained constrained at 10.8% below
pre-COVID19 levels (June 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of
passenger aircraft. Belly capacity was down 38.9% on June 2019
levels, partially offset by a 29.7% increase in dedicated
Underlying economic conditions and
favorable supply chain dynamics remain highly supportive for air
– The US inventory to sales ratio is at a record
low. This means that businesses have to quickly refill their
stocks, and typically use air cargo to do so.
– The Purchasing
Managers Indices (PMIs) – leading indicators of air cargo demand –
show that business confidence, manufacturing output and new export orders are growing at a rapid pace in most economies. Concerns of
a significant consumer shift from goods to services have not
– The cost-competitiveness and reliability of
air cargo relative to that of container shipping has improved. The
average price of air cargo relative to shipping has reduced
considerably. And scheduling reliability of ocean carriers has
dropped, in May it was around 40% compared to 70-80% prior to the
“Air cargo is doing brisk business as the
global economy continues its recovery from the COVID19 crisis,”
said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “With first-half demand 8% above pre-crisis levels, air cargo is a
revenue lifeline for many airlines as they struggle with border
closures that continue to devastate the international passenger
business. Importantly, the strong first-half performance looks set
Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo
increase by 3.8% in June 2021 compared to the same month in 2019.
International capacity remained constrained in the region, down
19.8% versus June 2019. Even though demand remains high, the
region faces moderate headwinds from the lack of international
capacity and manufacturing PMIs that are not as strong as in
Europe and the US.
North American carriers posted
a 23.4% increase in international demand in June 2021 compared to
June 2019. Underlying economic conditions and favorable supply
chain dynamics remain supportive for air cargo carriers in North
America. International capacity decreased by 2.1% compared with
European carriers posted a 6.6% increase in
international demand in June 2021 compared to the same month in
2019. International capacity decreased by 16.2% in June 2021
versus June 2019. Manufacturing PMIs are very strong in Europe
indicating that market dynamics remain supportive for air cargo
carriers in Europe.
Middle Eastern carriers posted
a 17.1% rise in international cargo volumes in June 2021 versus
June 2019, boosted by strong performances on the Middle East to
Asia and Middle East to North America trade routes. International
capacity in June was down 9% compared to the same month in 2019.
Latin American carriers reported a decline of 22.9% in
international cargo volumes in June compared to the 2019 period.
This was the worst performance of all regions and a weakening of
performance compared to the previous month. International capacity
decreased 28.4% in June 2021 compared to June 2019. This weak
performance is mostly due to local airlines losing market share to
carriers from other regions.
international cargo demand in June increased 33.5% compared to the
same month in 2019. This was the strongest performance of all
regions, but notably on small volumes (African carriers carry 2%
of global cargo). International capacity in June decreased by 4.9%
compared to the same month in 2019.
between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the
extraordinary impact of COVID19, unless otherwise noted, all
comparisons above are to June 2019 which followed a normal
Download the 4-page, 205KB .pdf of the complete
Air Cargo Market Analysis for June 2021.
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