African airlines record 18.2% annual international cargo growth in May 2024, highest globally

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African airlines achieved the highest annual growth rate in international cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) among all global regions, with an impressive 18.2% increase in May 2024.

CTKs, a critical metric in the aviation industry, measure air cargo volume by multiplying the weight of the cargo (in tonnes) by the distance flown (in kilometres).

This provides a standardized way to compare cargo transport by airlines over different distances.

The latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) report, which analyzes the air cargo market for May 2024, highlighted that African airlines not only led in annual growth but also saw a month-on-month increase of 7.2% compared to April 2024, the highest among all carriers globally.

Following closely, airlines registered in the Asia-Pacific region recorded an annual growth rate of 18.1% in international cargo tonne-kilometres for May 2024, making them the second highest in this category.

“Airlines registered in Africa and Asia Pacific led with the highest annual growth rates in international CTKs, with 18.2% and 18.1%, respectively.

“For African carriers, the figure increased by 7.2percentage points (ppts) compared to April, the highest increase among all carriers,” the report read in part.

Trailing African and Asia-Pacific airlines in annual international cargo growth for May 2024, European carriers experienced a 17.5% year-over-year increase, followed by those in the Middle East with a 15.3% rise, and Latin American airlines with an 11.3% increase.

Consistent with the previous three months, North American carriers exhibited the smallest annual growth, albeit a solid 9.6% year-over-year.

More insight

The IATA report on Air Cargo Market Analysis for May 2024 highlighted the strong expansion of air cargo traffic across multiple major route areas, with varying magnitudes.

  • African airlines led the way with a remarkable 18.2% increase in international CTKs. This performance was especially notable on the Africa-Asia route, which saw an outstanding annual growth rate of 40.6%, representing a significant jump of 14.8% compared to April.
  • This route has consistently maintained double-digit annual growth since September 2023, highlighting the robust demand for cargo services between these regions.
  • Similarly, the Middle East-Europe route recorded substantial annual growth of 33.8% in May 2024, reflecting the region’s increasing importance in global cargo networks.
  • The Within Europe trade lane also demonstrated impressive performance, with an annual surge of 25.6%. This marked the fifth consecutive month of double-digit annual growth for this route, despite a notable drop of 10.2% from April’s figure.

These trends indicate a continued strong demand for air cargo services across various regions, driven by diverse economic activities and trade flows.

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