Figures compiled by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) reveal 2012 was a weaker year for international air cargo. On the bright side, the organization sees hints of an air cargo recovery in 2013.
International air cargo demand, expressed in freight tonne kilometer (FTK) terms, declined by 3.4 percent in 2012 as a result of continued weakness in global trading conditions. This was matched by a 3.2 percent reduction in offered freight capacity, leading to a marginal 0.2 percentage points decline in the average international freight load factor, to 66.5 percent for the year.
However, Asia Pacific airlines registered solid growth in passenger demand, carrying a total of 207 million international passengers, 7 percent more than in 2011.
“Overall, Asian airlines experienced a year of further encouraging growth in international passenger traffic in 2012, bolstered by healthy demand for regional travel,” said Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general. “On the other hand, air cargo demand remained depressed for most of the year, only showing some signs of stabilizing towards year end.”
Herdman said the global economy continues to recover, paced by sustained growth in Asia and other development markets. However, consumer confidence in Western markets remains fragile.
“Nevertheless, the outlook for further growth in passenger travel remains positive, and hopefully in the new year we could also see some signs of a long overdue recovery in the air cargo market.”