After six consecutive months of cargo declines in the Asia-Pacific, regional volumes were largely flat in September, only falling 0.4-percent, year-over-year. Association of Asia Pacific Airlines statistics further revealed that Asia-Pacific cargo carriers matched capacity and demand in September fairly well; they offered 4.3-percent less freight space than in September 2011.
AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said he’s impressed by these results. “For air cargo markets, after experiencing a 3.9-percent, year-on-year, volume decline for the first nine months of the year, September was a relatively good month, only marginally below last year’s figure.”
Also strong in September was Asia-Pacific carriers’ freight load factors, which rose 2.6 percent, year-over-year, to 66.6 percent. This figure is relatively consistent with regional airlines’ performance from a nine-month standpoint; Asia-Pacific cargo carriers’ load factors stalled 0.5 percent, year-over-year, in the first nine months of 2012, according to AAPA data.
Despite stalled cargo traffic, passenger volumes have been steady in the Asia-Pacific lately. Traffic surged 4 percent, year-over-year, in September, with Asia-Pacific airlines carrying 16.7 million passengers. Even so, this is a marked decrease from the 18.5 million passengers Asia-Pacific carriers welcomed in August.
Such declines speak to the “challenging” operating environment currently affecting Asia-Pacific carriers, Herdman explained. “Margins have been under pressure from stubbornly high oil prices, and there is continuing uncertainty about the global economic outlook, despite the fact that Asian economies are still maintaining respectable growth rates,” he added.