Preliminary traffic figures for the month of May released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed further growth in international air passenger demand, whereas soft conditions persisted for air cargo markets.
A total of 23.6 million international passengers were carried by Asia Pacific airlines in May, 2.8% more than in the same month last year. In revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, international passenger demand grew by 4.5% highlighting the relative strength of long haul travel demand. Nevertheless, combined with the 5.8% expansion in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor fell by 0.9 percentage point to 75.4% for the month.
Air freight volumes for Asian airlines registered a decline of 0.7% as measured in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms. Offered freight capacity increased by 2.0%, leading to a 1.6 percentage point drop in the average international freight load factor to 61.3% for the month.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “Asian airlines posted a healthy 6.0% increase in the number of international passengers carried during the first five months of the year to an aggregate total of 120.6 million. By contrast, international air cargo demand remained soft, with year-to-date demand registering a 3.9% decline compared to the same period a year ago, reflecting the weak trading conditions in the global economy.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman concluded, “The demand outlook for air passenger markets remains broadly positive, but the stimulus effect of low oil prices is dissipating, and uncertainty over the global economic outlook is further clouded by the potential repercussions from the political events unfolding in Europe. Even with the expectation of further growth in passenger demand, market conditions remain intensely competitive. Consequently, airlines are continuing to focus their attention on disciplined cost management efforts throughout the business.”