Preliminary traffic figures for the month of November released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed further growth in both international air passenger markets and international air cargo demand.
The region’s airlines carried a combined total of 23.3 million international passengers in November, representing a 4.0% increase compared to the same month last year. Underpinned by continued strength on long haul travel markets, demand in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) grew by 6.2%. The average international passenger load factor rose by 0.7 percentage points to 77.4% for the month after accounting for a 5.1% expansion in available seat capacity.
International air cargo demand climbed 5.3% higher, underpinned by broad-based improvement in new export orders.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “Asian airlines carried an aggregate total of 267 million international passengers in the first eleven months of the year, representing continued robust growth in demand, up 5.9% on the corresponding period in the previous year.” Capacity expressed in ASK (Available seats/km) grew by 6.4% to 1,236,437 from January to November while the average passengers load factor reached 78.5% during the first 11 months of 2016, a modest growth of 0.1 percentage point.
Turning to air cargo markets, Mr. Herdman added, “The region’s carriers have seen a modest but progressive recovery in international air cargo demand this year, with volume growth of 1.2% for the first eleven months of 2016.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman concluded, “International air passenger demand maintained a strong growth trend throughout 2016, despite geopolitical uncertainties, supported by lower oil prices and widespread availability of affordable air fares. Air cargo markets picked up modestly during the course of the year, but rates remain highly competitive, reflecting soft global trade conditions”.
“The general outlook for the global economy in 2017, including further growth in demand for air travel, remains reasonably positive, but airlines will need to be vigilant over costs,given fluctuations in oil prices as well as exchange rate volatility.”