Do mixed August traffic reports for Asian carriers denote uptick in cargo?

In August’s first look, Asian carriers reported mixed year-over-year declines in cargo traffic. While the impact of volatile global trade relations contributed to most carriers reporting traffic declines for the month, a closer look at the numbers reflects that some airlines actually experienced slight recovery from July declines. Both Mainland China-based Air China and Singapore Airlines were hit the hardest for the month and saw drops in traffic. Meanwhile, Taiwan-based Eva Air and Mainland China-based China Southern saw improvements compared to July traffic. Perhaps the year for air cargo has some hope yet.

For a closer look at carrier results:

EVA Air’s cargo traffic, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), saw slight growth of 1.86% year-over-year for the month of August to 311 million FTKs. Load factors were down 5.5% with a 9.0% y-o-y increase in available tonne kilometers (AFTKs) for the month. Year-to-date, EVA’s cargo traffic is down 8.8%, and tonnage is down 9.9%.

China Southern’s traffic for August decreased by 3.1% y-o-y to 642 million FTKs. Year-to-date, traffic saw a slight decline of -0.3% at 4.8 billion FTKs. Domestic traffic for the carrier was up 4.8% y-o-y, while international traffic decreased by 5.4%. Month-over-month, the carrier’s total cargo handle decreased 0.1% from July.

Beijing-based Air China’s cargo traffic for August was 6.2% lower than the same month last year at 401 million FTKs. Overall tonnage decreased by 2.5% to about 120,000 tonnes. For the first eight months of 2019, traffic is down 3.0%, and tonnage is 1.4% lower than during the same period in 2018.

Singapore Airlines reported August cargo traffic down 10.2% y-o-y to 535 million FTKs, while cargo tonnage declined by 8.8% to just over 102,000 tonnes. Year-to-date, cargo traffic is down 6.2% to 4.3 billion FTKs.

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Chelsea Toczauer

Chelsea Toczauer is the Associate Editor of the company’s daily news and monthly magazine Air Cargo World. She holds two BAs in International Relations and Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California, as well as a double accredited US-Chinese MA in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University joint degree program. Chelsea speaks Mandarin and Russian.