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AAPA Reports Asia Pacific Airline Traffic for May 2012

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Preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of May 2012 show continued growth in international air passenger traffic, while international air cargo demand remains soft.

Airlines based in the Asia Pacific region carried 16.6 million international passengers in the month of May, an increase of 8.9% compared with the same month last year. International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, grew by 7.0%. Growth in available seat capacity matched the increase in traffic demand, resulting in an average international passenger load factor of 73.7% for the month.

Weakness in global air cargo markets persisted, as reflected in a 5.3% decline in international air cargo traffic, in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms. The average international air cargo load factor for Asia Pacific carriers fell by 1.6 percentage points to 66.6% for the month, based on a 3.0% contraction in offered freight capacity.

 During the first five months of the year, we have seen a relatively robust 8.7% growth in the number of international passengers carried by Asian airlines, reflecting positive consumer confidence, despite lingering concerns over the fragility of the global economic recovery, said Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General. On the other hand, air cargo markets remained weak amidst real concerns about the eurozone, and further evidence of slowing growth, spreading to the major developing economies. Air cargo traffic carried by Asian airlines declined by 5.0% in the first five months of this year. It is worth reflecting on the fact that global air cargo volumes are stuck at levels first seen five years ago, before the global recession.

Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman said, The positive trend in passenger demand growth has been encouraging, and oil prices have moderated somewhat from a peak. Nevertheless, Asian carriers are still braced for a challenging second half of 2012, in view of widespread competitive pressures, the continued weakness in air cargo markets, and unresolved concerns over the outlook for the global economy.

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