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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