The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) August 2021 data for global air cargo markets shows that 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.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers, was up 7.7% compared to August 2019 (8.6% for international operations). Overall growth remains strong compared to the long-term average growth trend of around 4.7%.
The pace of growth slowed slightly compared to July, which saw demand increase 8.8% (against pre-COVID-19 levels).
Cargo capacity recovery paused in August, down 12.2% compared to August 2019 (-13.2% for international operations). In month-on-month terms, capacity fell by 1.6% – the largest drop since January 2021.
“Air cargo demand had another strong month in August, up 7.7% 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.