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Asian cargo sees April showers

By Hpanchal on May 29, 2012

April freight volumes fell 7.6 percent, year-over-year, in the Asia-Pacific, according to data collected by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines. Unfortunately, not even a 4.8-percent capacity reduction could offset the declines witnessed throughout the Asia-Pacific last month, with freight load factor in the region totaling 66.3 percent, a 2-percent, year-over-year, loss.

AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman blamed the cargo drop on “depressed” freight markets around the world. In fact, he said, Asian-Pacific carriers saw 4.8-percent lower cargo volumes in the first four months of 2012 than in the same period of 2011, which “exerts further downward pressure on rates, despite reductions in offered freight capacity.”

The losses experienced in the Asia-Pacific in April were more marked than those seen in the previous month, according to a press release. Cargo demand and capacity only declined 4.5 percent and 4.1 percent, year-over-year, respectively, in the Asia-Pacific in March, AAPA data revealed.

Even so, April passenger volumes in the Asia-Pacific were on par with March levels. Asia-Pacific carriers welcomed 17.2 passengers in both months, although the year-over-year increase was more pronounced in April, with regional airlines seeing a 12.2-percent volume increase from April 2011. Passenger demand also surged in April, growing 10.1 percent, year-over-year, according to the press release.

Unfortunately, Herdman said, the heightened passenger traffic couldn’t offset the declining cargo volumes. “We're still seeing welcome growth in passenger demand, but airline profit margins have suffered as a result of the weak cargo market and the impact of stubbornly high oil prices,” Herdman said in a statement.

“Although key Asian economies are still performing relatively well, the operating environment remains challenging, clouded by uncertainties over prospects for the global economy,” he continued.

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