With Asian airlines carrying more than one third of global airfreight volumes, concerns over ongoing trade tensions are being closely monitored given the potential negative impact on trade flows and global supply chains, said the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).
The association’s Assembly of Presidents is holding its 62nd meeting in Jeju, South Korea, to discuss a wide range of industry issues and long-term growth prospects.
It reported that Asia Pacific air carriers have seen international cargo demand increase by 4.8% during the first eight months of the year, but “growth rates have moderated following the surge in 2017, with some concern over rising tensions between major trading nations”.
The association said that rising fuel costs and currency fluctuations are putting margins under pressure although, overall, Asia Pacific airlines are expected to deliver substantial profits for the fourth year in succession. International passenger numbers grew by 8% in the first eight months.
A key area of concern is the need for investments in new air transport infrastructure in the form of additional runways, terminals and air traffic management capacity to cope with traffic growth and the expected deliveries of new aircraft to the region over the next ten years.
There is an ongoing debate on how such infrastructure should be funded, and the need for more effective cooperation between airlines, airports and governments.
"Air transport is widely recognised as a key contributor to economic and social development, built around strong global networks offering both passenger and air cargo services. The dynamic airline sector epitomises the way in which region's carriers are at the forefront of global air transport industry development," said Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general.
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