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Strong start for Asia-Pacific airlines in 2019
International passenger traffic climbed 8%. © Airbus

Strong start for Asia-Pacific airlines in 2019

Preliminary AAPA traffic figures for the month of January showed robust growth in international air passenger demand.

Preliminary traffic figures for the month of January from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed robust growth in international air passenger demand. However, international air cargo markets weakened further, with global new export orders contracting on the back of slowing demand for foreign goods.

Overall, the region’s airlines carried a combined 32.2 million international passengers in January, 8.0% more than the same month last year. Reflecting robust regional and long-haul travel demand, traffic as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) grew by 8.1%. Available seat capacity expanded by 5.9%, resulting in a 1.7 percentage point increase in the average international passenger load factor to 82.1% for the month.

However, international air cargo markets continued to soften, with demand in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms falling by 3.8% year-on-year in January. The AAPA believes that concerns over slower growth in major economies and unresolved trade tensions are affecting air cargo demand.

Meanwhile, the expansion in offered freight capacity continued to outpace demand growth, with January’s 2.8% increase in offered freight capacity resulting in a 3.9 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 56.6% for the month.

AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman described the travel demand outlook for the coming year as “broadly positive”.

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