Global air cargo tonnages stabilised in October close to their levels this time last year, with preliminary full-month tonnage figures for the month down just -1% compared to those last year, having tracked its demand patterns closely on a week-by-week basis throughout the month, according to the latest figures from WorldACD Market Data.

That difference of -1% in October is the smallest full-month year-on-year drop recorded so far this year, narrowing from a year-on-year decline of -10% in the first quarter, -6% in the second quarter and -3% in the third quarter of the year.

But this narrowing of the gap compared with last year’s demand levels should be seen more as a stabilization than a recovery, with tonnages in October 2022 having already experienced a double-digit percentage decline (-13%) compared with those of the previous year, heralding a non-existent peak season last winter.

To put these demand levels into context, tonnages for the full year in 2022 were around -6% below the (near-record) full-year figures for 2021, and just slightly above (+2%) those in 2016, with full-year figures for 2023 set to be significantly below last year’s levels (around -5%).

As per WorldACD data, regionwise increases in tonnages were recorded most strongly on flows outbound from Africa to Europe (+14%), and from Asia Pacific to, respectively, North America (+9%), Middle East & South Asia (+8%), Europe (+7%) and intra-Asia Pacific (+7%).

Preliminary figures for week (from October 23 to 29) show a -1% decrease in tonnages and a +1% increase in global average rates, compared with the previous week, based on the more than 400,000 weekly transactions covered by WorldACD’s data.

The slight tonnage decrease in the last full week of October follows the same pattern as the previous year, characterised by a mid-month recovery in tonnages following a sharp drop during the first full week of October (-5% in 2023; -8% in 2022), corresponding with China’s Golden Week holiday break, it added.

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