Strong Cargo Demand Continues in July


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released July 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that demand continued its strong growth trend.

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

  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was up 8.6% compared to July 2019. Overall growth remains strong compared to the long-term average growth trend of around 4.7%.
  • The pace of growth slowed slightly compared to June which saw demand increase 9.2% (against pre-COVID-19 levels).
  • Capacity continues to recover but is still 10.3% down compared to July 2019.  
  • Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth:
    – The July export orders component of the manufacturing Purchasing Managers Indices (PMIs) was 52.7%, indicating a short-term boost to demand if those orders are shipped by air.
    – The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low ahead of the peak year-end retail season.​​​

“July was another solid month for global air cargo demand,” said Wille Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

“Economic conditions indicate that the strong growth trend will continue into the peak year-end demand period.

“The Delta variant of COVID-19 could bring some risks. If supply chains and production lines are disrupted, there is potential for a knock-on effect for air cargo shipments”.  


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