African airlines saw 22 percent year-on-year demand growth for air cargo in February 2024—the strongest among all regions according to The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

While the intra-Africa trade lane showed 42.3 percent year-on-year growth, air cargo capacity increased by 28.2 percent year-on-year.

IATA released data for February 2024 global air cargo markets showing continuing strong annual growth as total demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), rose by 11.9 percent compared to February 2023 levels (12.4 percent for international operations).

This is the third consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year demand growth.

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), increased by 13.4 percent compared to February 2023 (16 percent for international operations). This was largely related to the increase in international belly capacity accompanying growth in passenger markets (29.5 percent year-on-year increase), which far exceeded international capacity on freighters (3.2 percent year-on-year increase).

"February’s demand growth of 11.9 percent far outpaced the 0.9 percent expansion in cross-border trade. This strong start for 2024 could see demand surpass the exceptionally high levels of early 2022. It also shows air cargo’s strong resilience in the face of continuing political and economic uncertainties,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Global cross-border trade increased by 0.9 percent in January. In February, the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) climbed to 51.2, indicating expansion. The new export orders PMI also rose to 49.4, remaining slightly below the 50 threshold that would indicate growth.

February year-on-year inflation dropped to 2.8 percent in the EU while rising to 2.8 percent and 3.2 percent in Japan and the US respectively. After four months of deflation, China reported a 0.7 percent increase in inflation year-on-year—a positive development amid concerns over China's economic slowdown.

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