Air cargo demand among carriers in Asia Pacific increased moderately in March, according to preliminary traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).
Demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), increased by 2.8 per cent year-on-year (YOY) in the month.
AAPA said demand on routes within the region, as well as traffic to and from the region remained “encouraging”, underpinned by demand for transportation of both intermediate goods and consumer products including strong growth in e-commerce shipments.
Offered freight capacity increased by 5.6 per cent which resulted in an average international freight load factor of 65.5 per cent, 1.8 percentage points lower than in the same month last year.
In the first quarter of the year, demand was robust, up YOY by 5.9 per cent on last year’s performance which was strong.
AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman said: “Growth across advanced and emerging market economies was maintained in the first quarter of the year, driven by positive business and consumer sentiment.
“Correspondingly, world trade activity continued to expand, underpinned by increased investments and higher manufacturing output in the region, in response to increased new business orders. These positive factors continued to support growth in both air passenger and cargo demand for Asian airlines.”
Looking ahead, Herdman said: “The market outlook for Asian carriers remains positive, given continued availability of affordable air fares and increasing numbers of new destinations connecting travellers.”
Herdman added: “Asian carriers overall saw a significant improvement in earnings performance last year, on the back of the strong growth in air passenger and air cargo demand.
“However, the airline operating environment remains challenging, with competitive pressures including higher fuel prices and labour expenses. Asia Pacific airlines therefore remain focused in striving for cost efficiencies and productivity improvements whilst seeking avenues for further growth.”