International passenger travel across the Asia Pacific rose 3.5 per cent last year amid slackening cargo demand, according to year end figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.
The region’s airlines carried 190 million international passengers in 2011 as sustained economic growth propped up demand for both business and leisure travel. Growing airline capacity outpaced demand, however, rising 6.3 per cent and resulting in a 2 per cent fall in the average international passenger load factor to 76.4 per cent.
Air cargo demand fell 4.8 per cent, reflecting “cautious management of supply chain inventories in the expectation of relatively weaker growth prospects for the major developed economies,” AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said.
Herdman said the fragile world economy would continue to weigh on the region’s airlines this year.
“Uncertainty over prospects for the global economy in 2012 has somewhat overshadowed the immediate outlook, and airlines worldwide are bracing themselves for another challenging year ahead,” he said. “Overall, however, Asian airlines still remain optimistic about longer term growth prospects, as evidenced by ambitious fleet plans, ongoing service enhancements, and the launch of innovative new business ventures.”