Preliminary traffic figures for the month of March released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed positive growth in both international passenger and air cargo traffic.
Asia Pacific-based carriers which were boosted by stronger export markets, registered a 6.7 per cent increase in international freight demand as measured in freight tonne kilometre terms. Offered freight capacity grew by a measured 5.9 per cent, and consequently the average international air cargo load factor for Asia Pacific carriers edged 0.5 percentage points higher to 68.4 per cent, the first increase seen in over a year.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “For the first quarter of the year, international passenger numbers grew by 5.6 per cent to an aggregate total of 62 million, as a result of generally positive business and consumer sentiment in most markets. During the same period, international freight markets saw an encouraging 3.8 per cent growth in traffic, with further evidence of a pick-up in international trade, leading to stronger demand for Asian exports.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman added, “Asian carriers continue to face a challenging operating environment marked by increased competition pressuring yields, whilst on the cost side of the equation many carriers have been adversely affected by volatile currency markets. Nevertheless, the overall demand outlook remains broadly positive, driven by expectations of further improvements to global economic conditions including a long awaited recovery in international trading activity.”