September 30, 2021: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its August 2021 data, African airlines' saw international cargo volumes increase by 33.9 percent, the largest increase of all regions.

Investment flows along the Africa-Asia route continue to drive the regional outcomes with volumes on the route up 26.4 percent over two years ago. International capacity decreased 2.1 percent.

The global air cargo markets showed that the demand continued its strong growth trend but pressure on capacity is rising.

As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of Covid-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons below are to August 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.

"Air cargo demand had another strong month in August, up 7.7 percent compared to pre-Covid levels. Many of the economic indicators point to a strong year-end peak season. With international travel still severely depressed, there are fewer passenger planes offering belly capacity for cargo. And supply chain bottlenecks could intensify as businesses continue to ramp up production," said Willie Walsh, IATA's director general.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), was up 7.7 percent compared to August 2019 (8.6 percent for international operations). Overall growth remains strong compared to the long-term average growth trend of around 4.7 percent.

The pace of growth slowed slightly compared to July, which saw demand increase 8.8 percent (against pre-Covid-19 levels).

Cargo capacity recovery paused in August, down 12.2 percent compared to August 2019 (‑13.2 percent for international operations). In month-on-month terms, capacity fell by 1.6 percent – the largest drop since January 2021.

Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth but are slightly weaker than in the previous months indicating that global manufacturing growth has peaked.

The August manufacturing output component of the purchasing managers indices (PMIs) was 51.9, indicating a short-term boost to demand if those orders are shipped by air. This was a decline from 54.4 in July.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their international air cargo volumes increase 3 percent in August 2021 compared to the same month in 2019.This was a slowdown in demand compared to the previous month's 4.4 percent expansion. Demand is being affected by an easing in growth momentum in key activity indicators in Asia, and by congested supply chains especially on Within Asia and Europe-Asia routes. International capacity is significantly constrained in the region, down 21.7 percent vs August 2019.

North American carriers posted an 18 percent increase in international cargo volumes in August 2021 compared to August 2019. New export orders and demand for faster shipping times are underpinning the North American performance. The downside risk from capacity constraints is high; international cargo capacity remains restricted and many of the key air cargo hubs are reporting severe congestion, including Los Angeles and Chicago. International capacity decreased 6.6 percent.

European carriers saw a 6 percent increase in international cargo volumes in August 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. This was on a par with July's performance. Manufacturing activity, orders and long supplier delivery times remain favorable to air cargo demand. International capacity decreased 13.6 percent.

Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 15.4 percent rise in international cargo volumes in August 2021 versus August 2019, an improvement compared to the previous month (13.4 percent).

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