Asian cargo monthly: Mixed bag for airlines in July

Asian air cargo carriers reported mixed performance in July, with the majority of airlines seeing volumes track lower than earlier in the year.
The region’s largest air cargo carrier group, Cathay Pacific, saw traffic increase by 2.1% year on year in July to just over 1m revenue freight tonne kms, which lags behind its growth over the first seven months of the year of 6.4%.
However, the carrier pointed out that demand had been strong in July of last year.
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Cathay Pacific Director Commercial and Cargo Ronald Lam said: “Our cargo business continues to be steady, with tonnage in July recording year-on-year growth from a high base.
“Transhipment volumes increased, in particular from Japan, Southeast Asia and America, while the load factor and yield maintained a high level.
“We continue to closely monitor the external factors that have the potential to impact global trade.”
The carrier group’s capacity decreased by 0.3% year on year in July, which helped its cargo load factor reach 70.3% compared with 68.6% in July last year.
The next largest carrier included in this report, Air China, saw cargo traffic increase by 5.3% year on year in July to 685m revenue freight tonne kms, which lags behind growth over the first seven months of 7.9%.
The increase was propelled by international and domestic traffic, while there was a decline in regional demand.
With capacity growing faster than demand, its July cargo load factor slipped to 60.2% against 61.6% last year.
At China Airlines cargo grew by 3.6% in July to 524m freight revenue tonne kms, which compares with an increase of 3.8% year on year for the first seven months.
On the plus side, its July cargo load factor reached 73.9% compared with 72.9% last year.
Singapore Airlines Cargo (SIA) saw its cargo traffic for the month decrease by 1.4% on last year to 581m freight tonne kms, while capacity was flat. This compares with year-to-date growth of 0.1%.
Bucking the trend were China Southern and China Eastern. China Southern saw cargo volumes increase by 15.6% year on year fuelled by international traffic growth and capacity additions.
This was the carrier’s largest increase of the year so far and is up on the 6.4% increase recorded over the first seven months. The increase in demand did, however, lag behind capacity additions and as a result its cargo load factor was down on a year earlier.
Finally, China Eastern recorded a 10.9% increase to 213m freight tonne kms, which is an improvement on a 6.5% increase over the first seven months.
The carrier’s figures are affected by the fact it offloaded a freighter subsidiary last year, heavily affecting year-on-year comparisons in January when it showed a 47% drop off in demand.
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