Asian carriers’ July traffic reflects continued impact of trade war

In July’s first look, Asian carriers reported year-over-year declines in cargo traffic across the board for the month, reflecting the continued impact of protectionist policies on global trade in their operations. Taiwan-based EVA Air and China Airlines both saw significant declines in year-over-year traffic, while Mainland China-based China Southern Airlines and Air China also reported lower numbers compared to the same month the year prior, but with less impact on their change in cumulative traffic for the first seven months of the year. Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, also saw a continued decline in its traffic for the month as well as year-to-date results. 

For a closer look at carrier results:  

EVA Air’s cargo traffic, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), saw a steep decline of 14.1% year-over-year for the month of July to 254 million FTKs. Load factors were down 6.9% with a 6.6% y-o-y decrease in available tonne kilometers (AFTKs) for July. Year-to-date, EVA’s cargo traffic is down 10.4%, and tonnage is down 11.3%.   

China Airlines reported a 13.2% drop y-o-y to 451 million FTKs. These results for July continue the carrier’s six consecutive months of declines in traffic this year. Year-to-date, the carrier’s FTKs declined 9.5% compared to the same period for the year prior.   

China Southern’s traffic for July was nearly flat y-o-y, with a slight decline of 0.5% to 643 million FTKs. Year-to-date, traffic is up by a slight 0.9% at 4.2 billion FTKs. Domestic traffic for the carrier was up 1.6% y-o-y, while international traffic decreased by 1.1%. Month-over-month, the carrier’s total cargo handle decreased 3.5% from June.  

The carrier’s’s slight increase in year-to-date traffic is likely supported by its strong growth in regional traffic by 22.1% y-o-y for the month, related to the launch of several new major regional routes in July, including: Shenzhen (SZX)-Lanzhou (LHW); Shenyang (SHE)-Changsha (CSX); Beijing (PEK)-Hohhot (HET); SHE-Nanchang (KHN); Haikou (HAK)-Nanning (NNG); and Pudong (PVG)-Bangkok (BKK). 

Beijing-based Air China’s cargo traffic for July was 4.0% lower than in July 2019 at 419 million FTKs. Overall tonnage increased slightly at 0.6% to about 120,000 tonnes. For the first seven months of 2019, traffic is down 2.5%, and tonnage is 1.3% lower than during the same period in 2018.     

Singapore Airlines reported July cargo traffic down 5.7% y-o-y to 548 million FTKs, while cargo tonnage declined by 5.1% to just over 103,000 tonnes. Year-to-date, cargo traffic is down 5.6% to 3.8 billion FTKs.   

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