November air cargo demand plateaus for Asia-Pacific carriers

Soon after WorldACD released data at the end of last year indicating a surprising slowdown in air cargo demand for the month of November 2018, the preliminary report for the same month from Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) today indicated similarly flat year-over-year demand in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the November 2017 figures that the 2018 data were compared to were particularly strong.

Measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK), international demand among AAPA carriers in November edged rose just 0.1 percent, y-o-y, higher in November. But freight capacity during the same period increased by 5.9 percent, causing the freight load factor in the region to dip 3.8 percentage points to 65.2 percent.

“The moderation in export activity, with slowing business orders, contributed to the slowdown in air cargo growth for the month, although this was mitigated by higher volumes of e-commerce shipments going into the end-year festive season,” said an optimistic Andrew Herdman, AAPA’s director general. “Overall, the region’s airlines recorded a cumulative 4.3 percent increase in air cargo demand during the first eleven months of the year, a reasonably solid growth rate following the exceptionally strong 9.6 percent annual increase recorded in 2017.”

For the current first quarter, Herdman said the outlook was “relatively positive,” with moderate growth predicted in the global economy and falling oil prices that should encourage air cargo demand. Still, he continued his caution about the “recent deterioration in trade sentiment” that has chilled U.S.-China trade, as well as “uncertainties over the potential impact on consumer confidence levels.”

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