AIR cargo volumes declined for the tenth month in a row in December and there are mixed signals for the year ahead, according to IATA.
Figures from the airline association show that demand in cargo tonne km (CTK) terms declined by 15.3 per cent year on year in December and by 8 per cent for the full year.
CTKs were down 1.6 per cent on pre-Covid 2019 levels for the full year, reports London's Air Cargo News.
Capacity for the month was down by 2.2 per cent in available CTK and load factors were 7.3 percentage points down on 2021 at 47.2 per cent.
Looking ahead IATA said there were mixed signals as global new export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand, have stayed at the same level since October and for major economies, new export orders are shrinking except in Germany, the US, and Japan, where they grew.
Global goods trade decreased by 1.5 per cent in November, down from a 3.4 per cent increase in October.
IATA director general Willie Walsh said: "In the face of significant political and economic uncertainties, air cargo performance declined compared to the extraordinary levels of 2021. That brought air cargo demand to 1.6 per cent below 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels.
"The continuing measures by key governments to fight inflation by cooling economies are expected to result in a further decline in cargo volumes in 2023 to minus 5.6 per cent compared to 2019.
"It will, however, take time for these measures to bite into cargo rates. So, the good news for air cargo is that average yields and total revenue for 2023 should remain well above what they were pre-pandemic.
"That should provide some respite in what is likely to be a challenging trading environment in the year ahead."
Looking at regional performance, Asia Pacific airlines posted an 8.8 per cent decrease in demand in 2022 compared to 2021 and for December recorded the worst performance of all regions, posting a 21.2 per cent decrease in demand.
North American carriers reported a 5.1 per cent decrease in demand in 2022 compared to 2021 and in December airlines in the region reported an 8.5 per cent decrease.
European carriers posted the worst year-on-year performance of all regions for the year with an 11.5 per cent decrease while in December airlines in the region posted a 17.4 per cent decrease.
"Airlines in the region continue to be most affected by the war in Ukraine," IATA explained.
Middle Eastern carriers reported a decrease of 10.7 per cent year-on-year decline in 2022 and in December there was a 14.4 per cent decrease.
Latin American carriers posted the strongest year-on-year performance of all regions with a 13.1 per cent increase in demand in 2022 and in December demand was flat on a year ago.
African airlines reported a decrease in demand of 1.4 per cent in demand in 2022 and for December there was a 10.0 per cent decrease.
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