AAPA Reports Full Year 2009 Traffic Results

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Monday, 25 January 2010

In 2009, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) member airlines carried 132.9 million international passengers, 5.7% fewer than in the previous year. Passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) fell by 6.5%, indicating particular weakness in demand on long-haul routes. Available seat capacity was reduced by 6.1%, resulting in a marginal drop in the average passenger load factor by 0.4 percentage points to 74.6%.

AAPA international air cargo traffic for 2009, expressed in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), suffered an even more significant decline, down 11.0% for the year. Airlines made corresponding reductions in cargo capacity, resulting in an average cargo load factor of 66.1%, almost unchanged from the previous year.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, We have been through downturns before, but none as severe as weve experienced in the past two years. As a result of the global recession, demand for passenger travel and air cargo shipments both recorded sharp falls. The business impact on airlines was even more dramatic as the collapse in corporate travel and intense price competition in a shrinking market saw airline revenues falling by 20-25%. Airlines responded by cutting capacity and redoubling efforts to reduce costs throughout the business, but were unable to fully offset the effects of sharply lower revenues. Meanwhile oil prices, representing our single biggest cost, fell back from their 2008 peak but remained extremely volatile. Overall, Asia Pacific airlines are expected to report significant losses for 2009, following similar heavy losses suffered in 2008.

Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman said, On a more optimistic note, traffic trends in recent months have shown signs of recovery, in line with the improving global economic outlook led by developing economies in the Asia Pacific region. The cargo business is regaining some of its dynamism, and passenger demand on short haul leisure routes within the region has already picked up, although business travel demand is recovering more slowly. Asia Pacific airlines remain focused on conserving cash, rebuilding damaged balance sheets, and carefully managing capacity to match demand as they work towards restoring profitability. Whilst we remain hopeful about future prospects, the outlook for 2010 very much depends on the sustainability of what still appears to be a rather fragile global economic recovery.

See recent travel news from: Travel News Asia, AAPA, December 2009

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