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Asia Pacific cargo market firm in face of Chinese New Year

By Staff Reports on February 26, 2014

Air cargo markets were relatively firm for Asia Pacific carriers in January, in the lead up to Chinese New Year, according to preliminary traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

International air cargo demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers, saw a 3.9 percent increase compared to the same month in 2013, slightly boosted by the earlier timing of Chinese New Year this year.

Offered freight capacity expanded by 5.3 percent, resulting in a 0.7 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 61.3 percent.

“Asian carriers face a number of headwinds, including recent stock market and currency volatility in emerging markets, and widespread competitive pressures holding down yields,” Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said. “Furthermore, the situation in the air cargo market remains quite difficult, with little evidence of any sustained pickup in demand given sluggish international trade growth, whilst freight rates remain pressured by an overhang of excess freighter capacity.”

The region’s airlines carried 8.7 percent more passengers in January year over year. 

“Despite these challenges, the outlook for the year ahead remains broadly positive given expectations of further improvements in the global economy that should help underpin further increases in both business and leisure travel demand,” Herdman said.