Published on : Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Preliminary traffic figures for the month of February released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed continued growth in international air passenger demand, whilst the pace of expansion in air cargo markets quickened, with solid increases in demand.
An aggregate total of 24.2 million international passengers flew on the region’s carriers in February, a 2.2% increase compared to the same month last year. In revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, demand grew by 3.9%, reflecting relative strength on long-haul markets. Combined with a modest 1.2% expansion in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor strengthened by 2.1 percentage points to 80.2% for the month.
Measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), international air cargo demand of the region’s carriers registered a double-digit growth of 11.3% compared to the same month last year, underpinned by strong growth in new export orders and an acceleration in international trade activity. Growth in demand out-paced the 1.2% expansion in offered freight capacity by a comfortable margin, resulting in a 5.4 percentage point increase in the average international freight load factor to reach 60.1% for the month.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “Notwithstanding the distortion in growth comparisons due to the earlier timing of this year’s Lunar New Year festive period, combined figures for the first two months of the year show an encouraging 5.1% increase in the number of passengers carried by the region’s carriers to a combined total of 51 million.”
Mr. Herdman added, “During the same period, air cargo demand registered a healthy 7.6% increase, with a boost in demand for air cargo shipments of intermediate and finished goods.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman continued, “High levels of business and consumer confidence across most major markets underpins continued optimism for further growth in both air passenger and cargo demand. However, intense market competition, rising fuel and other costs will continue to put pressure on yields. As such, the region’s carriers remain vigilant in seeking further opportunities to enhance growth and increase operational efficiency.”