Asia Pacific load factors boosted by US port chaos
28 / 04 / 2015
Airlines based in the Asia Pacific region enjoyed a double-digit increase in airfreight demand in February, thanks to US west coast port issues.
According to figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, international airlines based in the region experienced a 20.5 per cent year-on-year increase in freight tonne kilometres in February to 4.8bn FTK.
As well as benefitting from a surge in demand during the month, airlines also benefitted from improved load factors as volume growth outstripped capacity additions.
In total, airlines increased available freight tonne kilometres by 12.6 per cent in February against the same month last year to 7.5bn AFTK, resulting in a 3.4 percentage point improvement in load factors on a year ago to 65.2 per cent.
Load factors are also up on the January level when they stood at 61.8 per cent, and are above the monthly average recorded since January 2013 of 64.4 per cent.
It is particularly unusual for load factors to be this high in February as they are usually negatively affected by the closure of factories for the Chinese New Year holiday, before surging in March as shippers rush to re-stock inventories.
The AAPA said airlines received a boost from congestion issues at US west coast ports, which caused many shippers to switch to airfreight to get products to market.
This dampened the sharp decline in demand usually experienced in February. Also, the Chinese New Year fell a little later than in 2013 and 2014.
For the year-to-date, volumes also achieved a double-digit increase on last year.
AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said: “Air freight demand achieved an impressive 12.8 per cent increase during the two month period, with robust demand for Asian exports, particularly to North America where the recent port dispute affected some maritime shipping operations.”
“The demand outlook for Asian carriers remains broadly positive, supported by the benefits of lower oil prices.
“Nevertheless, Asian airlines are having to carefully match capacity growth with actual demand, whilst coping with the effects of increased currency volatility affecting both costs and revenues.”
Notes: FLF = Freight Load Factors