Traffic figures for September released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show continued robust growth in demand, but persistently soft air cargo market conditions.
During the month, the region’s airlines recorded a solid 8.2 per cent growth in the number of international passengers carried to a total of 18.0 million compared to the same month last year, supported by robust leisure and business travel markets. The increase in passenger numbers well exceeded available seat capacity, which was up 5.2 per cent, leading to a further improvement in the average international passenger load factor to 78.4 per cent for the month.
International air cargo demand, however, dropped by 2.1 per cent in September, reflecting a continuation of the prolonged weakness seen in the air cargo market for the past two and a half years. Offered freight capacity increased marginally by 0.8 per cent, leading to a 1.9 percentage point contraction in the average international freight load factor to 64.8 per cent.
Commenting on the results, AAPA Andrew Herdman director general said that year to date Asia Pacific airlines have carried a combined total of 163 million international passengers, 5.5 per cent more than in the same period last year. “Sustained regional economic growth as well as the recovery of the US economy, underpinned consumer and business spending, fueling further growth in passenger travel markets.”