The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) reports that passenger traffic on its member airlines was stable during September, possibly pointing towards a steady recovery for the region’s airlines.
Compared to the same time last year, passenger numbers in September decreased by a mere 0.2 per cent to 10.75 million. A 6.1 per cent cut in capacity saw load factors increase by 4.1 percentage points to 76.4 per cent. Freight on the other hand was not so fortunate, with freight tonne kilometres down by 6.5 per cent, while freight capacity was down by 11.2 per cent. This led to an increase in freight load factor of 3.4 percentage points to 68.7 per cent.
AAPA director general Andrew Herdman welcomed the stabilisation in passenger traffic, saying, “The September figures offer some encouragement amidst signs of a continuing pickup in consumer confidence and economic activity, led by the Asia Pacific region.”
Nevertheless, he noted that passenger numbers for the year ending September 30 were still down 8.8 per cent, and yields were considerably depressed.
“Despite capacity cutbacks, and other cost reduction efforts, airlines are still struggling to restore profitability,” he said. “Meanwhile, rising oil prices are driving up costs, and will act as a brake on the wider economy. Overall, as things stand now, the recovery still looks quite fragile.”