Thu, 28 Feb 2019

Asia Pacific Airlines Carried 32.2 Million International Passengers in January 2019

Preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of January 2019 show robust growth in international air passenger demand. However, international air cargo markets weakened further, with global new export orders contracting on the back of slowing demand for foreign goods.

Overall, the region's airlines carried a combined 32.2 million international passengers in January, 8.0% more than the same month last year. Reflecting robust regional and long haul travel demand, traffic as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) grew by 8.1%. Available seat capacity expanded by 5.9%, resulting in a 1.7 percentage point increase in the average international passenger load factor to 82.1% for the month.

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On the other hand, international air cargo markets continued to soften, with demand in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms falling by 3.8% year-on-year in January. Concerns over slower growth in major economies and unresolved trade tensions are affecting air cargo demand. Meanwhile, the expansion in offered freight capacity continued to outpace demand growth, with January's 2.8% increase in offered freight capacity resulting in a 3.9 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 56.6% for the month.

Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General, said, "Against a backdrop of increasing concerns about the global economy, the continued firm growth in passenger traffic was a welcome start to the year for the region's carriers, which also saw demand sustained by travel ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Asia. During the same period, however, expected increases in air cargo shipments were absent, as evidenced in the decline in air cargo volumes."

"Overall, the travel demand outlook is broadly positive for the coming year. Underlying global economic conditions remain relatively firm, with major economies leaning towards more accommodative policies to support demand. The region's airlines are closely monitoring developments and potential changes in operating conditions, whilst carefully managing costs with the aim of sustaining profitability," added Mr. Herdman.

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