Preliminary traffic figures for the month of April released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed a continuation of established trends, with steady growth in international air passenger demand, whereas air cargo markets remained weak.
In contrast to a 6.4 per cent growth in passengers (RPK) in the month of April, air cargo demand was flat with volumes in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms similar to those registered in the same month last year. Expansion in available freight capacity continued to outpace the growth in demand. As a result, the average freight load factor for the region’s carriers fell by 1.7 percentage points to 61.7 per cent, after accounting for a 2.8 per cent expansion in offered freight capacity.
Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said: “During the first four months of the year, Asia Pacific airlines saw international passenger numbers increase by a healthy 6.9 per cent to an aggregate total of 97.1 million. Passengers are benefiting from greater value than ever with competitive airfares and ever expanding consumer choice of products and services.
“However, international air cargo markets are still weak, with year-to-date demand registering a 4.8 per cent decline compared to the same period a year ago, reflecting the lacklustre global trade conditions.”
Looking ahead, Herdman concluded: “The outlook for air passenger demand is expected to remain positive, even though there are uncertainties regarding the global economic outlook. Accordingly, although the region’s airlines are cautiously optimistic about further growth, they are at the same time continuing to focus attention on disciplined cost management efforts throughout the business.”