Monitor domestic and global tonnage.

FreightWaves Customer SuccessDaily Tips

Did you know? You can track inbound and outbound Air Cargo Tonnage going forward for 12 weeks in SONAR?  

What is it?

Inbound and Outbound Air Cargo Tonnage The Air Cargo Capacity Index is a measure of the scheduled airline available tonnage capacity for passenger wide-body and freighter aircraft serving a market or an airport on an outbound (OACT) and inbound (IACT) basis. The index is expressed in metric tons and is calculated for each week forward going out 12 weeks, as well as weekly going back a minimum of one year. The source of the data are the flight schedules compiled by the airline industry and published in the Official Airline Guide (OAG) along with tonnage capacity figures by flight and aircraft type either provided directly by the airlines themselves or as forecast by FreightWaves market expert staff. The data is available for domestic and international flights to, from and within North America. Schedule data must be provided by the airlines involved to OAG.

OACT Chart


In the chart above, you can see the available outbound tonnage by freighter flights for Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. The white dotted line represents the available tonnage scheduled 12 weeks in advance.  

Who needs it?

Analysts: Analysts can utilize OACT/IACT data to gain visibility into air cargo volume trends on particular aircraft body type by tonnage (e.g., outbound freight volumes from ATL on a Passenger Wide Body Flight) that could impact trucking capacity in a market. 

Carriers: Monitoring OACT/IACT can help air cargo carriers predict capacity needs based off of the tonnage airlines have scheduled. When flight capacity increases, this will translate into higher air cargo volumes. Carriers can use this information to plan their capacity in certain markets accordingly.  

Brokers: Air cargo shipments normally pay higher rates on average than regular truckload volumes. Brokers can use OACT/IACT to search for peaks in air cargo volumes in different markets across the U.S. Targeting air cargo volumes in peak markets will lead to higher paying freight, which can increase a broker’s margins.     

Shippers: Shippers that move their freight by air can monitor inbound and outbound capacity schedules to help understand capacity constraints in their markets. Tighter capacity will increase their air cargo rates, while loose capacity can push their air cargo rates down. Visibility into capacity schedules could alter shipping patterns for those concerned about air cargo rates.     

What can I do with it?

The ACT indicates the total available tonnage capacity for cargo in and out of an airport or within a market pairing, such as U.S.-Europe or Atlanta-Frankfurt. It shows where airlines believe the market is growing and will invest additional flights instead of markets that are losing scheduled flights. Typically more flight capacity translates into greater tonnage potential, demand for more cargo ground handling services, and increased trucking support, and vice versa. This will allow airline industry vendors to plan their commercial strategies more effectively. The index will allow comparison of the growth or shrinkage trends over recent history and in the near-term future for where capacity is changing across North America airports (U.S. and Canada).

The ACT indices can be broken down into the following tonnage options:

  • OACTK – Outbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers
  • IACTK – Inbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers
  • OACTP – Outbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • IACTP – Inbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • OACTF – Outbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Freighter Flight
  • IACTF – Inbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Freighter Flight
  • OACTKP – Outbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • IACTKP – Inbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • OACTKF – Outbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Freighter Flight
  • IACTKF – Inbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Freighter Flight

Show me how!

1)  View the OACT data on a TreeMap to see which markets are shipping the highest outbound volumes of air cargo freight.   

  • Markets in the top left corner are the largest markets by volume, and markets in the bottom right are the smallest markets.
  • Markets shaded green show an increase in volumes from the previous week.
  • Markets shaded red show a decrease in volumes from the previous week.
  • Dark shaded markets show little or no change from the previous week. 
OACT Tree Map

2)  View the OACT/IACT Index in a chart to see the changes and trends in inbound and outbound capacity from a particular market.

  • View historical changes in freight capacity from different markets.
  • View airline capacity 12 weeks in advance.
  • Compare inbound and outbound capacity from different markets.

Pro Tip: Use the OACT/IACT along with the OTVI index, and ORAIL/IRAIL index to help predict changes in freight volumes from a particular market. 

If you have questions about outbound tender volumes, please contact us at

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