Association of Asia Pacific Airlines states passenger volumes up with 8% in January
Preliminary traffic figures for the month of January released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed robust growth in international air passenger demand. However, international air cargo markets weakened further, with global new export orders contracting on the back of slowing demand for foreign goods.
Overall, the region’s airlines carried a combined 32.2 million international passengers in January, 8.0% more than the same month last year. Reflecting robust regional and long haul travel demand, traffic as measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) grew by 8.1%. Available seat capacity expanded by 5.9%, resulting in a 1.7 percentage point increase in the average international passenger load factor to 82.1% for the month according to Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.
Slower growth in major economies affect air cargo demand.
On the other hand, international air cargo markets continued to soften, with demand in freight ton kilometer (FTK) terms falling by 3.8% year-on-year in January. Concerns over slower growth in major economies and unresolved trade tensions are affecting air cargo demand. Meanwhile, the expansion in offered freight capacity continued to outpace demand growth, with January’s 2.8% increase in offered freight capacity resulting in a 3.9 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 56.6% for the month.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said, “Against a backdrop of increasing concerns about the global economy, the continued firm growth in passenger traffic was a welcome start to the year for the region’s carriers, which also saw demand sustained by travel ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Asia. During the same period, however, expected increases in air cargo shipments were absent, as evidenced in the decline in air cargo volumes.”
Airlines focussing on sustaining profitability.
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman concluded, “Overall, the travel demand outlook is broadly positive for the coming year. Underlying global economic conditions remain relatively firm, with major economies leaning towards more accommodative policies to support demand. The region’s airlines are closely monitoring developments and potential changes in operating conditions, whilst carefully managing costs with the aim of sustaining profitability.”