International air travel across the Asia Pacific continued to grow in October but freight markets remained weak, according to figures release by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).
Carriers based in the region took on 16.5 million international passengers for the month, a five per cent increase over October 2010 and in line with a nearly four per cent growth rate over the first 10 months of 2011.
Air cargo markets continued to flounder, however, with carriers reporting a 7.7 per cent drop in freight tonne kilometres as the tottering global economy weighed down demand.
“Asian exports have been negatively impacted by the pattern of slower economic growth seen in Europe and North America, particularly in the second half of the year,” AAPA general director Andrew Herdman said. Air cargo demand is down 4.5 per cent for the year to date.
Herdman said steady growth in air travel in developing economies had bolstered passenger numbers in the region even as higher fuel prices left airlines operating at narrow margins.
“Despite these challenges, optimism about the long term outlook is reflected in ambitious fleet expansion plans, and innovative new business ventures,” he said.