DEMAND for air cargo (measured in cargo tonne-kilometres) increased by 8.3% in November of last year, according to data available from the International Air Transport Association.

IATA attributed the increase (when compared with November 2022) to weakness in 2022, but also is the fourth consecutive month of increasing demand for air cargo.

IATA said capacity (measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres) was up 13.7% compared with November 2022.

The association said most of the capacity growth continues to be attributable to the increase in belly capacity as international passenger markets continue their post-covid recovery.

Compared with November 2019 (pre-covid-19), demand is down 2.5% while capacity is up 4.1%.

IATA said both the manufacturing output and new export order purchasing managers indexes – two indicators of global air cargo demand – continued to hover just below the 50 mark in November, with small positive movements indicating a deceleration of the economic slowdown.

Global cross-border trade recorded growth for the third consecutive month in October, reversing its previous downward trend.

Inflation in major advanced economies continued to soften in November as measured by the corresponding consumer price index, centring around 3% year-on-year for the US, Japan and the EU in November. In the meantime, China exhibited negative annual growth in its CPI for the second time in a row.

Air cargo yields (including surcharges) continued their significant upward trend (up 8.9% since October). Rising yields are in line with improving air cargo load factors over recent months. This could be tied in part to booming e-commerce deliveries from China to western markets.

IATA director general Willie Walsh said November’s increase in air cargo demand was the strongest year-on-year growth in almost two years.

“That is a doubling of October’s 3.8% increase and a fourth month of positive market development,” he said.

“It is shaping up to be an encouraging year-end for air cargo despite the significant economic concerns that were present throughout 2023 and continue on the horizon.”.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 13.8% in November 2023 compared with the same month in 2022.

This performance was significantly above the previous month’s growth of 7.6%.

Available capacity for the region’s airlines increased by 29.6% compared to November 2022 as more belly capacity came online with the removal of covid-19 restrictions.