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IATA: Stellar year for air cargo in 2021

IATA: Stellar year for air cargo in 2021
IATA: Stellar year for air cargo in 2021
Written by Harry Johnson

As shortages of labor and storage capacity remain, governments must keep a sharp focus on supply chain constraints to protect the economic recovery.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that full-year demand for air cargo increased by 6.9% in 2021, compared to 2019 (pre-covid levels) and 18.7% compared to 2020 following a strong performance in December 2021. This was the second biggest improvement in year-on-year demand since IATA started to monitor cargo performance in 1990 (behind 2010’s 20.6% gain), outpacing the 9.8% rise in global goods trade by 8.9 percentage points.

  • Global demand in 2021, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs), was up 6.9 % compared to 2019 (7.4% for international operations). 
  • Capacity in 2021, measured in available cargo ton-kilometers (ACTKs), was 10.9% below 2019 (12.8% for international operations). Capacity remains constrained with bottlenecks at key hubs. 
  • Improvements were demonstrated in December; global demand was 8.9% above 2019 levels (9.4% for international operations).  This was a significant improvement from the 3.9% increase in November and the best performance since April 2021 (11.4%). Global capacity was 4.7% below 2019 levels (‑6.5% for international operations). 
  • The lack of available capacity contributed to increased yields and revenues, providing support to airlines and some long-haul passenger services in the face of collapsed passenger revenues. In December 2021, rates were almost 150% above 2019 levels. 
  • Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth.

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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