Preliminary traffic figures from the Association
of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of April 2019 show
continued growth in international air passenger markets, supported
by ongoing expansion in the global services sectors
Air cargo volumes
contracted further, following disruptions to global supply chains
amid heightened trade tensions, particularly between the United
States and China.
Collectively, Asia Pacific airlines recorded a
3.7% increase in the number of international passengers carried to
a combined total of 31.2 million in April, with promotional
airfare campaigns lending support to travel markets. Measured in
revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), demand grew by 3.5%,
reflecting relative strength in regional travel markets. After
accounting for a 4.1% increase in available seat capacity, the
average international passenger load factor edged 0.5 percentage
points lower to 80.8% for the month.
Air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne
kilometres (FTK) fell by a steep 9.1% year-on-year in April, with
further declines in new export orders affecting trade activity. In
particular, the fall in air shipment volumes coincided with
production declines in the region's technology equipment sectors.
Whilst demand fell, offered freight capacity edged 0.4% higher,
leading to a 6.0 percentage point drop in the average
international freight load factor to 57.3% for the month.
Commenting on the results, Mr.
AAPA Director General said, "These traffic trends paint a mixed
picture. The first four months of the year saw a 4.9% increase in
the number of passengers carried by the region's airlines to an
aggregate total of 125 million, whereas air cargo markets
experienced a 6.3% decline in demand during the same period."
"Growth remained relatively encouraging in air
passenger markets, with sustained demand in regional economies.
Since the last quarter of 2018, however, air cargo volumes have
recorded declines as unresolved disputes and the imposition of
trade tariffs led to a marked slowdown in international trade
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman said, "The current
trade tensions and further erosion in business confidence could
undermine growth prospects going forward, even though demand for
international air travel is expected to remain relatively firm.
The region's airlines are proactively exploring new opportunities
for growth, whilst carefully managing capacity expansion and
implementing measures to contain costs in a bid to navigate
successfully through the ongoing challenges."
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