Asian airlines report growth in 2019 despite end of year slowdown

Asian Pacific airlines recorded an "encouraging" increase in air cargo volumes in 2018, despite a slowdown towards the end of the year.
The latest figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show that air cargo volumes increased by 3.9% year on year in 2018.
However, growth continued to slow as the year progressed, in December, for example, the member airlines registered a 0.7% decrease compared with a year earlier.
Offered freight capacity for the year grew by 6.6%, outpacing demand. As a result, the average international freight load factor for the year 2018 declined by 1.6 percentage points to 63.3%.
AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said: "Whilst international air cargo demand recorded an encouraging 3.9% increase for the full year, growth slowed significantly in the closing months of the year as business confidence in the global manufacturing sector weakened in response to trade policy tensions.
"Cargo yields also firmed slightly despite falling load factors. However, cost pressures continued to increase, with higher fuel expenditure driven by a 30% increase in jet fuel prices which averaged US$85 per barrel for the year, despite falling back significantly towards the end of the year.
Herdman added: "Whilst expectations of continued moderate growth in the global economy should lend further support to travel markets in the coming months, there are some downside risks including weakness in trade activity and potential erosion in business and consumer sentiment.
"The region’s airlines are alert to such factors which may affect the market environment, but remain focused on cost management, and investing in future growth opportunities."

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