Asia Pacific cargo revenues continue to fall

Asia Pacific carriers record lower profits than 2010 despite 15 per cent growth in passenger revenues

AAPA Asia Pacific airlines Association of Asia Pacific Airlines cargo revenues challenges economic growth in Asia Pacific region financial performance oil prices passenger revenues weak cargo market

The surge in oil prices coupled with a weak cargo market have contributed to the fall in earnings of Asia Pacific-based carriers, according to the preliminary financial performance figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). The carriers together recorded US$4.8 billion in net profits in 2011, 47 per cent lower than the record US$9.0 billion achieved in the previous year. Total revenues for the region’s carriers reached US$162 billion, 10 per cent higher compared to the US$147 billion reported in 2010.

Cargo revenues fell by 1.4 per cent, to US$22 billion in 2011 while passenger revenues grew by 15 per cent to US$121 billion.  Operating expenses increased by 15 per cent to US$155 billion. The main cause of the increase was a 28 per cent surge in fuel costs, to US$52 billion. The share of fuel costs as a percentage of total expenses rose by four percentage points to 34 per cent, from 30 per cent in the previous year.

For the year 2011, Asian airlines’ international cargo traffic, expressed in freight tonne kilometres, fell by 4.8 per cent while international passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometre terms, grew by 3.7 per cent.

Commenting on the 2011 financial results, AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said that Asia Pacific carriers continued to outperform the overall industry in 2011, with continued growth in passenger numbers, but profit margins were squeezed by high oil prices, as well as the impact of a weak air cargo market.