Preliminary traffic figures for the month of June released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed sustained growth in international air passenger demand, and continuing robust growth in demand for international air cargo.
In June, the number of international passengers carried by the region’s airlines increased by 4.4% to an aggregate total of 25.2 million, with the upturn in global economic activity supporting business and leisure air travel demand. Reflecting continued strength in long haul travel markets, demand in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms grew by 8.1%. Combined with the 7.1% increase in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor edged 0.7 percentage points higher to 79.4% for the month.
Broad-based increases in new export orders continued to boost demand for air cargo shipments. Consequently, the month saw Asian airlines register a firm 10.0% year-on-year increase in international air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres. Offered freight capacity increased by 4.8%, leading to a 3.1 percentage point increase in the average international freight load factor to 66.2%.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said, “During the first half of the year, Asian airlines carried a combined total of 155 million international passengers, an increase of 5.5% compared to the same period last year. Air passenger traffic volumes have been growing steadily, underpinned by elevated business and consumer confidence levels.”
Mr. Herdman continued, “Global trade activity has picked up markedly since the middle of last year, with air freight 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.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman continued, “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. Expanding airline networks and the widespread availability of competitive airfares will also help to drive further growth in travel demand. Meanwhile, Asian airlines remain vigilant on containing costs, with the aim of sustaining a positive earnings performance in a highly competitive market place.”