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Asia Pacific passenger travel continues to grow

Asia Pacific passenger travel continues to grow

Preliminary traffic figures for the month of November released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed continued growth in international air passenger travel, but air freight markets remained weak.

In aggregate, airlines based in the Asia Pacific region carried 15.7 million international passengers in November, a 4.0% increase compared to the same month last year, maintaining the trend for 2011. International passenger traffic measured in revenue
passenger kilometre (RPK) terms grew by 3.5%. However, the average international passenger load factor for the month was 1.7 percentage points lower, at 74.4%, as a 5.9% expansion in available seat capacity marginally outpaced the growth in demand.

International air cargo traffic demand suffered a further decline in November as a result of continued moderation in export and import markets. Asia Pacific carriers registered a 6.5% fall in cargo traffic, in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms, in November compared to the same month last year. Offered freight capacity fell by just 0.6%, resulting in a 4.1 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor, to 64.9%.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “Despite growing concerns about a further slowdown in the global economy, so far passenger travel markets have held up reasonably well, with Asian airlines seeing a 3.6% increase in international air passenger numbers for the first eleven months of the year. Less encouragingly, Asian carriers registered a 4.8% decline in international air cargo demand during the first eleven months of the year, reflecting cautious management of supply chain inventory levels given the prospect of weaker consumer demand in the major developed economies.”

Mr. Herdman concluded, “Given unresolved concerns about the Eurozone debt crisis, and wider uncertainty about the global economic outlook for 2012, Asian carriers are bracing themselves for another tough year ahead. Nevertheless, the region’s carriers are still relatively well placed to benefit from future growth opportunities, and the outlook for the longer term remains positive, as evidenced by fleet expansion plans and the establishment of new business ventures.”