April data just released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata) shows that air cargo demand continued to outperform pre-Covid levels (April 2019) with demand up 12%.
Robust expansion on the Asia-Africa trade lanes contributed to the strong growth.
For African airlines demand increased 30.6% compared to the same month in 2019 - the strongest of all regions and the fourth consecutive month of growth at or above 25%.
April international capacity increased by 0.6% for the period under review.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), was up 12% compared to April 2019 and 7.8% compared to March 2021. Seasonally adjusted demand is now 5% higher than the pre-crisis August 2018 peak.
The strong performance was led by North American carriers, contributing 7.5 percentage points to the 12% growth rate. Airlines in all other regions, except for Latin America, also supported the growth.
Capacity remains 9.7% below pre-Covid levels due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Airlines continue to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly capacity. International capacity from dedicated freighters rose 26.2% compared to the same month in 2019, while belly-cargo capacity dropped by 38.5%.