Preliminary traffic figures for the full calendar year 2015 released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed growth in both international air passenger and air cargo markets. For the year under review, the region’s airlines registered a 1.6 per cent increase international air cargo demand for the year, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK).
The minimal growth for the year reflects the slowdown in global trade conditions, the AAPA noted. Offered freight capacity increased by 3.5 per cent, leading to a deterioration in the average international freight load factor, by 1.3 percentage points to 63.7 per cent for the year.
Noting the region’s carriers enjoyed a year of strong growth in international passenger numbers, up 7.9 per cent for 2015 and well ahead of the 4.9 per cent increase recorded the year before, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general added: “Less optimistically, air cargo markets saw only marginal growth for the year 2015, a reflection of the slowdown in global trade.”
“Asian airlines benefitted in 2015 from the robust growth in international passenger traffic, and significant fall in oil prices, but competitive market conditions continued to restrain margins. Airline profitability was also affected by currency volatility, and variations in individual fuel hedging policies, amongst other factors. ”
Looking ahead, Herdman concluded: “The outlook for air travel markets in 2016 remains broadly positive, although there are some s ignificant risk factors to consider, including increased uncertainty over the regional economic outlook. Asian airlines are closely monitoring market developments, whilst cont inuing to invest in future growth opportunities.”