Recently released figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) indicate that international air cargo traffic for 2008, expressed in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), suffered a 6.1 per cent decline and while member airlines reduced cargo capacity significantly, the average cargo load factor for the year still fell by one percentage point to 65.6 per cent. The AAPA members carried 141.5 million international passengers in 2008, 1.8 per cent fewer than the record levels achieved in 2007. Passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms was down by 1.0 per cent and while capacity growth for the year was 1.7 per cent, the average passenger load factor fell two percentage points to 75.1 per cent. Commenting on the 2008 results, Andrew Herdsman, AAPA Director General said: Â¡Â°In what proved to be a particularly challenging year, airlines were battered by skyrocketing oil prices followed by rapidly weakening demand as the effects of the global economic downturn ricocheted around the world. “AAPA passenger traffic held up reasonably well for the first nine months of the year, before growth tapered off. For the fourth quarter of 2008, AAPA international passenger numbers were 7 per cent down on the previous year. The situation in the air cargo market was even more dire, as demand for air cargo collapsed in the second half of the year, registering increasingly steep monthly declines. December volumes were down by a shocking Â¨C24 per cent compared to the same month a year ago.Â¡Â± Â¡Â°With no sign of any respite amidst the global economic downturn, Asia Pacific airlines are braced for another extremely difficult year ahead,Â¡Â± Herdsman added.
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