Cargo demand up in Asia Pacific but carriers still face pressure

Asia Pacific carriers reported another month of cargo growth in September, but continued to come under pressure due to fierce competition in the region.

The latest figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show that cargo demand increased by a “solid” 11.4% year on year in September to 6bn freight tonne km (FTK).

This reflected “the on-going pick-up in global trade across major advanced and emerging market economies”.

September performance is up on figures for the first nine months of the year, which have improved 10.7% on last year to 51.7bn.

Meanwhile, freight capacity during the month grew by the lower amount 5.7% resulting in a 3.4 percentage point rise in the average international load factor to 66% for the month.

AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said: “The global economy is in pretty good shape, with encouraging growth in both international air passenger and cargo demand seen this year.”

Ahead of its annual assembly of presidents, the association warned that airline’s in the region continued to face pressure.

“Asia Pacific carriers remain under pressure in a market characterized by intense competition and robust growth of both passenger and cargo traffic,” the AAPA said.

“Improvements in global trade sentiment have delivered a robust 10% growth in air cargo volumes, a welcome development for Asian carriers which account for nearly 40% of global air cargo traffic.

“Although there has been considerable pressure on yields in a fiercely competitive environment, Asia Pacific carriers in aggregate are expected to deliver profitability levels similar to last year.”

The association added that despite facing yield pressure, carriers continued to invest in fleet renewals, innovative service offerings and ultra-long haul flights.

Other topics to be discussed at the meeting included aviation security, environmental sustainability, taxes, airport charges and infrastructure developments.

Meanwhile, Airports Council International (ACI) Asia Pacific reported its airport throughout figures for August.

Hubs in the region saw airfreight demand increase 9.5% during the month, while airports in the Middle East were up 11.6% in August.

“Exports continued to drive strong air freight growth in Asia-Pacific: Hong Kong (HKG) +10.1%, Shanghai Pudong (PVG) +12.4% and Seoul Incheon (ICN) +10.1%,” ACI Asia Pacific said.

“In the Middle East, the pace of growth regained strength, Dubai (DXB) grew by +10.2% and Doha (DOH) grew by +9.5%.”

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