Passenger numbers in the region showed an encouraging 8.1 per cent increase during January compared to the same month in 2009. Accordingly, RPKs increased by seven per cent, and a 0.7 per cent reduction in capacity saw load factors improve by 5.6 percentage points to 78.6 per cent. Freight showed a similar strength, with volumes up 33.1 per cent, pushing up freight load factor by 12.6 percentage points to 66.4 per cent.
AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said that the recovery was an encouraging sign that the region was growing in line with the general economic recovery. “Short haul leisure traffic led the trend, followed by long haul routes and, more recently, evidence of renewed demand for business travel as companies seek to rebuild business and connect with new customers,” he said. “Current passenger volumes are already getting back to the pre-recession levels recorded in early 2008, with prospects for further growth ahead.”
However, Herdman cautioned that yields were still under pressure due to underutilised capacity and intense competition in the region, while the continued high price of oil was placing cost pressures on a number of carriers.