Declines dominate Asian carriers’ June traffic reports 

Several Asia-based carriers reported year-over-year declines in their traffic for the month of June. Taiwan-based EVA Air and China Airlines both saw significant declines, while China-based China Southern Airlines and Air China also reported lower numbers compared to the year prior, but with less impact on their change in cumulative traffic for the first half of the year. Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, also saw a continued decline in its traffic this month.  

EVA Air’s cargo traffic, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), saw a steep decline of 19.0% year-over-year for the month of June to 254 million FTKs. Load factors were down 5.8% with a 13.6% y-o-y decrease in available tonne kilometers (AFTKs) for June. Year-to-date, EVA’s cargo traffic is down 9.7%, and tonnage is down 10.7%.  

China Airlines reported a 4.1% decline y-o-y to 460 million FTKs. These results for June continue the carrier’s five consecutive months of declines in traffic this year. Year-to-date, the carrier’s FTKs declined 8.7% compared to the same period the year prior.  

China Southern’s traffic for June declined by 1.4% y-o-y to 624 million FTKs. Year-to-date, traffic is nearly flat (up 0.2%) at 3.5 billion FTKs. Domestic traffic for the carrier was up 1.8% y-o-y, while international traffic decreased by 2.3%. Month-over-month, the carrier’s total cargo handle decreased 3.2% from May.   

Beijing-based Air China’s cargo traffic for June was 5.8% lower than in June 2018 at 397 million FTKs. Overall tonnage declined by 5.3% to about 115,000 tonnes. For the first five months of 2019, traffic is down 2.2%, and tonnage is 1.6% lower than during the same period in 2018.    

Singapore Airlines reported June cargo traffic down 2.4% y-o-y to 537 million FTKs, while cargo tonnage declined by 0.9% to just over 99,000 tonnes. Year-to-date, cargo traffic is down 5.8% to 3.2 billion FTKs.  

While European carriers may have reported mixed results for the month, Asian carriers are still clearly suffering from market volatility despite the slight reprieve a few Asian carriers saw last month. In a statement on traffic going into June, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) director Andrew Herdman said that a slowdown in the manufacturing sector, deteriorating business confidence, volatile oil prices and renewed downward pressure on passenger yields have contributed to challenging operating conditions for Asia’s carriers. Even with protectionist policies impacting cargo traffic, WorldACD sought to remind the air cargo community in its most recent report that it may behoove us to employ a more “realistic” comparison of this year’s figures to 2017, rather than the extreme growth seen in 2018. 

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