Weakness persists in Asian carriers in December first look

In December’s first look, Asian carriers reported mixed year-over-year declines in cargo traffic. While the protracted impact of volatile global trade relations contributed to most carriers reporting traffic declines for the month, growth in month-over-month figures suggest the industry may see improvement into 2020. Mainland China-based Air China and Singapore Airlines were hit hardest for the month and saw drops in traffic.

A closer look at carrier results reveals:

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon reported a 5.7% YoY decline in cargo and mail to 979 million freight tonne kilometers (FTKs). While this is less than the 6.7% year-to-date decline to 11.3 billion FTKs, it still indicates weakness in the market. Meanwhile, tonnage declined 2.9% YoY in December to 177,561 tonnes, and 6.1% year to date to 2.0 million tonnes.

EVA Air’s cargo traffic saw growth of 3.3% YoY for the month of December to 307 million FTKs. Load factors were down 5.2% with a 10.3% YoY increase in available tonne kilometers (AFTKs) for the month. Year to date, EVA’s cargo traffic is down 6.7% and tonnage is down 9.9%.

China Southern’s traffic for December increased by 4.1% YoY to 679 million FTKs. Year-to-date traffic saw a slight increase of 0.7% at 7.5 billion FTKs. Domestic traffic for the carrier was up 7.1% YoY, while international traffic increased by 3.3%. Month over month, the carrier’s total cargo handle increased 2.9% from November.

Air China’s cargo traffic for December was 5.1% lower than the same month last year at 402 million FTKs. Overall tonnage decreased by 0.9% to about 129,000 tonnes. For 2019, traffic was down 4.0%, and tonnage was 1.8% lower than during the same period in 2018.

Singapore Airlines reported December cargo traffic down 9.9% YoY to 557 million FTKs, while cargo tonnage declined by 3.6% to just over 943,000 tonnes. Year-to-date traffic is up 1.6% to 6.6 billion FTKs.

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