Asia-Pacific airfreight growth slows in May

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Singapore Changi Airport

While the growth is not as spectacular as the air cargo boom at the start of the year, Asia-Pacific-based cargo carriers report a still-respectable 2.9 percent rise, year-over-year, in freight tonne kilometers (FTK) in the month of May, according to the latest preliminary traffic data released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

“International air cargo markets recorded further growth in May, albeit at a moderate pace compared to the preceding months, when demand was boosted by congestion in U.S. West Coast maritime ports,” said Andrew Herdman, director general of AAPA. “Overall, Asian airlines registered a 6.3 percent increase in international air freight demand for the first five months of the year.”

At the same time, however, freight capacity among the carriers surveyed grew by 5.1 percent, leading to a 1.4 percentage point decrease to an average international freight load factor of 63.5 percent for the month.

Herdman added that demand for air cargo markets “remains positive, although the pace of expansion appears to be moderating. Asian carriers are continuing to strive for further operating efficiencies with an eye on improving overall profitability this year, after some disappointing results in 2014.”

On the passenger side, AAPA also reported a 9.6 percent rise in revenue passenger kilometers, which was a faster rate of growth than the 6.7 percent expansion in available seat capacity. The aggregate total of 22.9 million passengers carried, plus a passenger load factor that rose to 76.3 percent, were driven by a “strong leisure travel demand” in May, especially in northern Asia markets, Herdman said.

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