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Cargo a mixed bag at Asia-Pacific airports

By control on July 26, 2012

Two weeks ago, Cathay Pacific officials announced that they experienced less dramatic cargo losses in June, turning in a 5.4-percent, year-over-year, tonnage drop for the carrier and its wholly owned subsidiary Dragonair. Last week, the airfreight operator Hactl reported a slight cargo growth in activity during the second quarter of the year. But what about the airports? Mixed results out of Changi Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Tokyo Narita International Airport proves that the current state of Asia cargo is anything but predictable.

Cargo movements at Changi were steady in June, with 153,300 tonnes of airfreight shipped, a change of 0.1% on-year. For the half-year, shipment volume declined by 1.0% compared to the same period in 2011.

Earlier this month, Changi Airport welcomed the commencement of airfreight services by Yangtze River Express. The Chinese all-cargo carrier will operate eight-weekly services using the 65-tonne A332F aircraft connecting Shanghai Pudong to Singapore with stopovers in Bangkok and Chongqing.

Passengers flocked to Hong Kong International Airport in June, boosting volume at the airport by 5.5 percent, year over year. Cargo activity rose as well, coming in at 4.1 percent more than a year ago. Officials mentioned that activity from Southeast Asia propelled the cargo numbers and that an 8-percent, year-over-year, increase in imports also propped up freight numbers.

In Japan, officials at Narita saw cargo activity top 157,000 tonnes in May, but that was a decline of more than 15,000 tonnes carried in April. Both of these results are year-over-year declines. According to a company press release, export and import tonnage results are both down. Narita officials will release the airport’s June activity next week.

While June’s region-wide numbers from the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines won’t be released for a few days, the firm found week demand for Asian cargo in May. During the month, international passenger traffic rose, year-over-year, by nearly 9 percent, but international cargo traffic fell by 5.3 percent.

“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,” AAPA’s director general, Andrew Herdman, said in a statement at the time. “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.”

The latest results at Changi, HKIA and Narita is a mixed bag, but cargo activity seems to be slightly better than the AAPA saw in May. Passenger traffic has continued its steady climb, but cargo activity could be picking up as well.

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