Asia Pacific airlines enjoy robust passenger traffic; cargo weak

Monday, 7 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of August 2013 show further robust growth in international passenger traffic, but continued weakness in air cargo markets. Asia Pacific airlines carried a combined total of 20.1 million international passengers in August, an encouraging 8.7% increase compared to the same month last year, boosted by relatively strong demand for regional travel. International passenger traffic, in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, grew by 8.0%. Combined with a 5.5% expansion in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor increased by 1.9 percentage points to 82.3% for the month. Air freight markets remained soft in August, as a result of sluggish global trading conditions. International air cargo demand, expressed in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms, was just 0.3% higher in August compared to the same month last year. Offered freight capacity increased by 2.8%, leading to a 1.6 percentage point fall in the average international freight load factor to 63.1% for the month. Commenting on the results, AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said: “For Asia Pacific airlines, international passenger demand has maintained its strong growth trend, with a combined total of 145.5 million international passengers carried during the first eight months of the year, a 5.2% increase compared to the same period last year. “Underpinned by sustained regional economic growth, we have seen significant increases in both business and leisure travel. On the other hand, air freight markets have been persistently soft, with a 1.7% fall in air freight demand during the first eight months of the year, as a result of lacklustre trade growth and relatively weak markets for electronic products and other high value goods normally shipped by air. “There are some signs that the slump in air cargo experienced over the past couple of years may be bottoming out, at least in volume terms, but surplus cargo capacity will continue to exert downward pressure on rates. Overall, Asian airlines are focusing on further growth opportunities, but still face very challenging business conditions.”