Asian cargo carriers headed for a strong finish to 2016

Preliminary traffic figures for November from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed quickening growth in international air cargo demand. Demand climbed 5.3 percent, year-over-year, for the month, which the organization attributed to “broad-based improvements in new export orders.”

Monthly freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) rose from 5.8 billion in 2015 to 6.1 billion in 2016, according to AAPA members. However, on an annual comparison of the two years, the rise is only 1.2 percent, suggesting a slower start to the year and a strong finish.

Demand outpaced a 3.2 percent, y-o-y, increase in capacity, driving up the average international freight load factor by 1.4 percentage points in November, to reach the year’s monthly high of 66.9 percent.

Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General, said that, “the region’s carriers have seen a modest but progressive recovery in international air cargo demand this year, with volume growth of 1.2 percent for the first 11 months of 2016.”

While Asian air cargo markets gained momentum over the course of the year, Herdman stressed that rates were still highly competitive, “reflecting soft global trade conditions.” The AAPA maintained a positive outlook for the global economy in 2017, including further growth in demand for air travel and cargo, however the organization stressed that airlines will need to be vigilant about costs, noting that fluctuations in oil prices and exchange-rate volatility were likely to continue for some time.

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