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Cargo rates decline in Asia-Pacific

By Hpanchal on August 25, 2011

Consistent with the global market slump, July airfreight volumes in the Asia-Pacific fell 4 percent from 2010 levels. The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines blames the decline on a variety of factors, including the inability to sustain last year’s rebound surge and weakening markets in the U.S. and Europe.

Despite this loss, AAPA officials said July cargo rates out of the Asia-Pacific were similar to those of the previous month. Offered freight capacity also echoed June’s statistics, falling 2.9 percentage points in the average international freight load factor category.

A hike in passenger traffic helped Asia-Pacific carriers offset some of the cargo losses, however. In fact, an AAPA spokesman revealed, regional airlines transported 17.4 million international passengers in July, a 5.2 percent increase from July 2010.

To AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman, these numbers represent a bright spot in a challenging market. “Airlines have seen only modest revenue growth this year as a result of slightly slower than expected growth in the passenger business and a lackluster air cargo market,” he said in a statement.

Sky-high oil prices, averaging $40 more per barrel than in 2010, are a main factor prohibiting growth, Herdman explained. “As a result, airline margins have been severely squeezed, with profitability suffering accordingly,” he said.

Still, Herdman remains hopeful that the Asia-Pacific aviation market will continue to rebound. “Notwithstanding the current challenges, optimism about future growth opportunities remains positive and is underpinning ambitious fleet expansion plans, as well as the establishment of a number of new airlines, including international partnerships and joint ventures,” he said in a statement.

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