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Timing of Chinese New Year drags down airfreight

By Staff Reports on March 25, 2014

Air cargo markets for Asia-Pacific carriers were relatively flat in February due to the timing of Chinese New Year, according to preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

International freight demand of Asia-Pacific carriers, measured in freight tonne kilometers, was 0.3 percent lower compared to the same month in 2013, partly a result of the closure of regional manufacturing plants during the Chinese New Year holidays.

Offered freight capacity increased by 1.6 percent, resulting in a 1.2 percentage point fall in the average international freight load factor to 61.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of international passengers grew 4.6 percent year over year.

“For international freight markets, combined figures for the first two months showed a 2-percent increase compared to weaker volumes seen during the same period last year, but the recovery in air cargo demand remains somewhat tentative,” Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said. “Although the recent improvement in business conditions and slight pick-up in world trade growth is encouraging, Asian carriers continue to face multiple competitive challenges that have been pressuring yields and margins across the board.”