Preliminary traffic figures for the month of September released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed further uptick in air cargo markets and steady growth in international air passenger demand.
In spite of the prevailing weakness in trade conditions, air cargo markets experienced further improvement in September, as reflected in the 5.3 per cent growth in demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK). The average international freight load factor increased marginally, by 0.5 percentage points to 63 per cent for the month, after accounting for a 4.4 per cent expansion in offered freight capacity.
Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said: “Air cargo volumes aggregated for the first nine months of the year match those of the same period last year, reflecting the modest upswing in demand in recent months, bolstered by higher shipments of electronics designated for product launches.”
Collectively, the region’s airlines carried 23.5 million international passengers in September, representing a 7.0 per cent increase compared to the same month last year. Spurred by continued growth in both long haul and regional markets, demand in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms increased by 7.6 per cent, faster than the 6.7 per cent expansion in available seat capacity.
Looking ahead, Herdman concluded: “Whilst air passenger numbers continue to demonstrate resilience, Asian carriers face challenges in the form of intense competition and cost pressures, as crude oil prices have risen from historical lows. In addition, the lack of impetus for a revival in global trade activity may present some headwinds to sustained growth in air cargo markets.”