General air cargo market volumes fell again in May as the pandemic, Ukraine-Russia war and economic turbulence continued to take their toll.

According to Xeneta’s CLIVE Data Services, general air cargo market volumes fell 7% year-over-year in May, following on from declines in April and also in March.

Airfreight demand for May was also down on pre-Covid 2019 figures for the month, declining by 8%.

Capacity, meanwhile, was up by 4% year on year in May and dynamic load factors – taking into account both weight and space – were down by nine percentage points on last year to 60%.

Air cargo market performance in May was affected by the continuing war in Ukraine, the ‘cost of living crisis’ causing consumers to reduce spending, stock market declines, higher interest rates, Covid-related restrictions in China, and more warnings of global recession.

However, continued oceanfreight and port congestion and disruption will benefit air cargo.

Niall van de Wouw, founder of CLIVE and now chief airfreight officer at Xeneta, said North Atlantic air cargo data in May 2022 may provide a test case for the direction of other markets once they also return to their pre-Covid levels.

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