Strong air freight demand in Asia expected to continue

Monday, 31 July 2017 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Asian airlines continued their bumper start to the year in June and expectations are that cargo demand will remain strong for the rest of 2017.

The latest Asian airline figures show robust cargo demand in June, with the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines reporting a 10% increase in freight tonne km for the month and a 10.4% improvement over the first half of the year. First-half freight load factors are also up, reaching 64% for the first half compared with 60.2% last year.

AAPA director general Andrew Herdman expects the improvements to continue: “Global trade activity has picked up markedly since the middle of last year, with airfreight volumes growing at a robust pace.

“Overall, Asian airlines reported a 10.4% increase in international air cargo traffic volumes during the first half of 2017, supported by an upswing in export orders for both the leading emerging markets and advanced economies.”

“International air passenger and cargo markets are well positioned to achieve further growth in the second half of the year, given signs of ongoing positive momentum in the global economy.”

Figures from the region’s leading cargo carrier also show increased demand. Cathay Pacific registered an 11.3% year-on-year increase in June to 638m cargo and mail revenue freight tonne km.

Over the first half demand is up 8.9% on last year and the carrier expects a strong second half, helped by new services and added freighter capacity.

Cathay Pacific general manager cargo commercial Mark Sutch said: “Our cargo business remained robust throughout June and the overall tonnage was healthy.

“The new Tel Aviv service has built good air freight demand and we received an overall boost from shipments of fresh produce, speciality goods, toys and automobile parts between Asia and the United States.

“Furthermore, our two wet-leased freighters are now operating at full capacity and are generating good revenues on North American routes.

“Looking ahead, the airfreight market remains strong and this should continue through to the start of the traditional high demand season in September.”

Elsewhere, Air China saw traffic in June improve by 7%, there was a 4% increase at China Airlines and fast-growing China Southern registered a double-digit improvement of 19.5%. (Source: