Air cargo demand rises again for Asia Pacific airlines

Credit: tratong/ Shutterstock

Asia Pacific airlines saw another rise in air cargo demand in May that was “driven by buoyant trade activity within the region and globally”, reported the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Asian carriers saw international air cargo demand in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) grow 17.9% year on year in May, said the AAPA in its preliminary May 2024 traffic figures.

The average international freight load factor also climbed 1.4 percentage points to 61.4%, following a 15.1% expansion in offered freight capacity.

Subhas Menon, AAPA director general, said: “The current pick-up in global economic activity, supported by improvements to business confidence levels and increased consumer spending, has boosted demand for both international travel and air cargo. Asia Pacific airlines, being major players in the air cargo markets, have also benefitted from disruptions to ocean freight services.”  

He added that in the first five months of the year, international air cargo demand grew by 16% year on year.

The region’s airlines carried a combined total of 27.9m international passengers, 23.9% more than in the same month last year. However, traffic averaged 89.4% of 2019 levels. Measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), demand grew by 27.4% year on year.

Looking ahead, Menon said: “Encouraging trends in passenger and cargo traffic bodes well for Asian airlines this year, following strong traffic performance for the year 2023.

“However, profit margins remain under pressure, with operating costs impacted by the strong US Dollar and jet fuel prices averaging above the US$100 per barrel mark during the first five months of the year.

“Overall, Asian airlines remain committed to maintaining stringent cost controls across their operations, alongside a proactive pursuit of growth opportunities.”

According to AAPA’s figures, demand was up 13.7% year on year in April. 

Asia Pacific cargo maintains momentum

AAPA: February Asia air cargo demand up 10%

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]