Load factors slide in Asia as west coast effect eases

The improvement in US west coast port performance resulted in a growth slowdown for Asian airlines in May, while load factors remain below the average for the year so far and are also below last year’s level.
The latest figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed that Asian airlines experienced a cargo demand increase of 2.9% in May compared with last year to 5.5bn freight tonne km (FTK).
But while demand was up on the year-ago figure, May’s growth rate of 2.9% is below the 4.7% increase recorded in 2014 and it is below the average recorded for the year so far of 6.3%.
There was also bad news on the supply side of the equation as carriers ramped up capacity by 5.1% compared with May last year to 8.3bn.
The increase in supply ahead of demand resulted in a weakening of load factors to 63.% compared with last year’s 64.9%.
May’s load factor was also below the average recorded for the year so far of 64.5%.
AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said improvements in west coast port operations had impacted performance.
"International air cargo markets recorded further growth in May, albeit at a moderate pace compared to the preceding months when demand was boosted by congestion in US west coast maritime ports,” he said.
“Overall, Asian airlines registered a 6.3% increase in international air freight demand for the first five months of the year.
“The demand environment for air cargo markets also remains positive, although the pace of expansion appears to be moderating.
“Asian carriers are continuing to strive for further operating efficiencies with an improving overall profitability this year after some disappointing results in 2014."
The industry has now entered the quieter summer period, which traditionally sees cargo volumes remain relatively steady until they begin to ramp up towards the end of the third quarter period.

Source: Association of Asia Pacific Airlines
Notes: 2015 figures based on preliminary results

Source: Association of Asia Pacific Airlines
Notes: 2015 figures based on preliminary results

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