Menu Close

Air Cargo Outlook 2022

Written by: Glyn Hughes, TIACA, Director General

As 2021 drew to a close we looked back on 22 months of a Covid impacted world. Family and social interactions, business operations, end of year celebrations were all still far from what we would consider normal and with complex travel restrictions in place around the globe traditional international air operations were still heavily disrupted.

Strong demand with less capacity placed considerable stress on supply chain management with many aspects experiencing significant challenges. Many facilities were running at near or even in some cases beyond optimal capacity and we even saw temporary embargoes to allow backlogs to be cleared.
So, as we look ahead to how the 2022 scene looks, we can see some familiar themes remaining; Capacity will continue to rely heavily on freighter operations, with freighter conversions and new deliveries expected to remain buoyant. Demand will continue to be strong, with Covid vaccine boosters and continued growth in personalized healthcare adding new demand. Global production remains very positive with the OECD forecasting 4.5% growth in global GDP for the upcoming year.

Unfortunately, we can still expect workforce challenges as quarantine, restrictive work practices and challenges in people movement all impacting the supply chain workforce. The shortages experienced in truck drivers can also be expected to remain.

As mentioned previously the economic outlook remains strong, although concerns of rising inflation may ultimately impact consumer spending. Inventory levels remain low as the added complexity brought about by Covid has significantly lengthened global supply chains.

Industry yields are expected to remain strong although perhaps softening slightly compared to 2021.

Two additional areas we can expect to see playing an increased role in 2022 is digitalization and sustainability.

With the many challenges expected the industry must embrace the full array of innovative technology and automation solutions that are available. As efficient, optimized and transformed processes and practices are the only way we can handle more with less.

Sustainability, in its broad definition of looking after our people, our planet and creating prosperity for all will play an increasingly important part of supply chain sourcing as consumers look for more sustainability credentials as an influence in their purchasing decisions. This then works its way through the supply chain with each stakeholder expected to challenge themselves and their partners. Reducing our respective environmental footprint is one aspect but also ensuring we create an inclusive and diverse workforce with opportunities for all will become increasingly more important. Collectively we have a roll to play in supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and TIACA is launching a number of new initiatives to support the industry and individual companies progress through their sustainability transformation journey.

So, 2022 will yet again test us all but the resilience and innovation demonstrated by the great men and women of the air cargo industry these past two years will stand us in good stead to tackle whatever this year throws at us.