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  January 10th, 2017 | Written by

Asia Air Cargo May End Year Strong

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  • International air cargo demand growth was underpinned by based improvements in new export orders.
  • The international air freight load factor in Asia reached the year’s monthly high in November.
  • The air cargo industry in Asia saw growth in 2016 through November of 1.2 percent.

Numbers for air cargo in Asia show traffic up a healthy 5.3 percent in November, leading to the possibility of a strong finish to the year.

Preliminary traffic figures for the month of November released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), the trade association for scheduled international airlines based in the Asia-Pacific region, showed further growth in both international air passenger markets and international air cargo demand.

International air cargo demand, as measured in freight ton kilometers (FTK), climbed 5.3 percent higher, underpinned by broad-based improvements in new export orders. Combined with a 3.2 percent increase in offered freight capacity, the average international freight load factor gained 1.4 percentage points to reach the year’s monthly high of 66.9 percent. The industry saw growth in 2016 through November of 1.2 percent.

The region’s airlines also carried a combined total of 23.3 million international passengers in November, representing a 4.0 percent increase compared to the same month last year.

“The region’s carriers have seen a modest but progressive recovery in international air cargo demand this year, with volume growth of 1.2 percent for the first eleven months of 2016,” said Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General. “International air passenger demand maintained a strong growth trend throughout 2016, despite geopolitical uncertainties, supported by lower oil prices and widespread availability of affordable air fares. Air cargo markets picked up modestly during the course of the year, but rates remain highly competitive, reflecting soft global trade conditions.”

The general outlook for the global economy in 2017, including further growth in demand for air travel, remains reasonably positive, Herdman noted. “But airlines will need to be vigilant over costs,” he concluded, “given fluctuations in oil prices as well as exchange rate volatility.”

The AAPA, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and with international representation in Brussels and Washington, D.C., represents airlines that carry 1.2 billion passengers and 20 million tons of cargo, representing one-third of global passenger traffic and two-fifths of global air cargo traffic.