Asian Cargo Monthly: Busy 2018 tempered by slower end to the year

Asian airlines saw their cargo traffic increase in 2018 despite a tough end of the year for many of the region’s largest carriers.
The Cathay Pacific Group continued to see its air cargo traffic improve in 2018 as demand was up by 4.2% year on year to 12.1bn revenue freight tonne kms.
This is the airline groups’ most successful year for cargo since at least 2011, when Air Cargo News records begin.
However, taking the polish of the achievement slightly is the slowdown in growth as the year drew to a close – in December the company registered a year-on-year decline of 5.9% in December.
Cathay Pacific director commercial and cargo Ronald Lam said: “We finished the year-end peak with strong movements of cargo in the weeks leading up to Christmas and demand slowed down towards the end of the month. Uncertainty remains in the coming months regarding the trade situation between China and the US.”
This performance is reflected by some of the figures released by analysts in November, when traffic between China and the US took a hit as a result of the trade tariff standoff between the two countries.
Capacity additions also led to its average load factor for the year declining to 67.7% from 68.8% last year.
Click on chart for interactive version
 
Another of the region’s largest cargo carriers, Air China, saw cargo demand increase by 5.8% last year to 8bn revenue freight tonne kms, led by international traffic.
While the airline noted growth, the year-on-year percentage improvement was the lowest the airline has recorded since 2012. It also saw its average load factor for the year decline to 56.1% against 56.7% in 2017.
The airline also saw traffic growth decrease as the year progressed – the last three months of the year saw lower growth than any of the other previous three quarterly periods.
Recording the largest percentage increase was China Southern, which reported a cargo traffic increase of 7.1% year on year to 7.5bn revenue freight tonne kms, again led by international demand.
This was the airline’s best year for cargo, although the pace of growth was down on 2017 levels and its load factor slipped to 52% from 53.6% in 2017.
Unlike Cathay Pacific and Air China, December ended up being quite a busy month for China Southern with cargo traffic improving by 8.7% year on year.
Singapore Airlines Cargo registered a 0.8% decrease in cargo traffic to 7.1bn freight tonne kms in 2018, which is its first annual decline in traffic since 2014. Its cargo load factor for the year stood at 63.5% compared with 65.4% in 2017.
Growth weakened towards the end of the year, culminating in a 5% decline in traffic in December.
In Taiwan, China Airlines registered an improvement in freight revenue tonne kms of 2.9% to 5.9bn for 2018, while December registered a 0.2% decline. Eva Air was down 0.8% to 3.7bn revenue tonne kms for the year and December saw a decline of 6.3%.
Both airlines’ cargo revenues surged ahead despite market growth slowing compared with 2017 levels – Eva Air saw its revenues improve by 11.3% and China Airlines’ was up by 15%.

Read more air cargo data news

Click here for a free digital subscription

Share this story

Related Topics

Latest airlines news

Boeing 777F deliveries get going as Qatar Cargo welcomes latest aircraft

Qatar Cargo has put into operation another Boeing 777-200 freighter – Boeing’s second 777 cargo aircraft delivery in April after…

Read More

Share this story

Dubai cargo disrupted after flash floods

Cargo operations in Dubai continue to face disruption following flash flooding that temporarily closed Dubai International (DXB) airport. The UAE…

Read More

Share this story

Kenya Airways adds second 737-800 freighter while African sea-air demand soars

Kenya Airways has put into operation its second Boeing 737-800 freighter and is hoping the additional capacity will help the…

Read More

Share this story

Air Cargo News

Air Cargo News
Established in 1983, Air Cargo News is the leading source of news, information, interviews, analyses and reports to the global airfreight industry. Our leading portfolio includes print, digital and events that give businesses in the airfreight industry the ability to connect with decision-makers in this sector.