Weak air cargo markets and a seasonal slowdown saw a 12.1% decline in February’s freight tonne km (FTK) for Asian-Pacific carriers versus same month 2015.
Preliminary traffic figures for February 2016 released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)
attributed the decline in international air cargo demand to “weakness in global trade volumes, as well as the Lunar New Year seasonal slowdown in factory operations in the region”.
Freight load factors for the region’s carriers remained under pressure, with the average international freight load factor registering a 8.6 percentage point decline to 56.8%, after accounting for a 1.3% expansion in offered freight capacity.
By comparison, international air passenger demand showed “continued healthy growth” in February among AAPA members.
Commenting on the results, AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said: “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.
“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.”
Looking ahead, Herdman concluded: "The region’s carriers remain positive on the outlook for further growth in travel demand in the coming year, 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.”