Asia Pacific airlines see buoyant cargo markets in May

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines’ (AAPA) international air passenger and air cargo markets remained buoyant in May, with further expansion in business activity supporting growth in demand.
AAPA said: “Amid rising global trade tensions, Asia Pacific airlines experienced an encouraging 4.9% year-on-year increase in air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) in May.
“The region’s economies enjoyed a firm increase in new orders during the month, on the back of a broader upturn across the region. At the same time, stronger demand for manufactured goods supported further growth in air cargo demand.
“However, the average international freight load factor declined by 1.3 percentage points to 64.2% for the month, after accounting for a faster 7.2% growth in offered freight capacity.”
Preliminary May traffic figures indicate that the region’s carriers registered a firm 8.7% year-on-year increase in the number of international passengers carried to a combined total of 28.8m.
Commenting on the results, AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said: "Global economic expansion remained relatively solid, marked by a pick-up in business activity in major advanced economies, particularly the US, and sustained growth in the leading Asian economies.
"The supportive economic conditions, along with the ongoing increase in network connections and availability of affordable air fares led to an encouraging 7.5% growth in the number of passengers carried by the region’s carriers during the first five months of the year, to an aggregate total of 146 million. During the same period, air cargo demand grew by 5.4%, with volumes sustained at relatively high levels."
Looking ahead, Herdman added: "While the increase in new orders across the region is still quite encouraging, the recent escalation in protectionist rhetoric could potentially undermine confidence and destabilize global trade flows.
“In addition, the operating environment for airlines is increasingly challenging due to the impact of higher fuel costs. Accordingly, the region’s carriers continue to seek avenues to increase operational efficiencies in a bid to boost profitability."
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