Asia Airlines Traffic Results – Passengers Up, Freight Down
Traffic figures for the month of February released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed continued healthy growth in international air passenger demand, whereas air cargo markets remained weak.
The month of February saw the region’s airlines carry 23.7 million international passengers, an 8.2-percent increase compared to the same month last year. The growth in leisure travel volumes associated with the Lunar New Year festive period as well as strong long haul passenger demand, translated to a 9.5-percent surge in traffic in revenue passenger kilometer (RPK) terms. Capacity expansion matched demand growth, with load factors for the month marginally lower at 78.2 percent.
By contrast, international air cargo demand suffered from the weakness in global trade volumes, as well as the Lunar New Year seasonal slowdown in factory operations in the region. This was reflected in a 12.1-percent decline in air cargo demand as measured in freight ton kilometer (FTK) terms for the month. Freight load factors for the region’s carriers remained under pressure, with the average international freight load factor registering an 8.6 percentage point decline to 56.8 percent, after accounting for a 1.3-percent expansion in offered freight capacity.
“The solid growth trend in passenger volumes seen throughout last year has been maintained, with Asian carriers reporting 9.3% growth in the number of international passengers carried in the first two months of 2016,” said Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General. “However, air cargo markets are showing further declines, reflecting the slowdown in global trade and raising some deeper concerns about the future outlook for the wider global economy.
“The region’s carriers remain positive on the outlook for further growth in travel demand in the coming year,” Herdman concluded, “but are continuing to focus on disciplined cost management efforts, including the effects of low oil prices and currency volatility in an intensely competitive market place.”
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