AAPA: Asia grows 9.6% in Q1 with double-digit surge in March

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Air cargo in Asia Pacific has had a strong first quarter with 9.6 per cent freight tonne kilometre (FTK) growth helped by a double-digit March surge, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) says.

FTKs were up 9.6 per cent in the first three months to 16 billion and by 12.7 per cent in March to 6.1 billion helped by steady manufacturing production in major Asian economies.

Capacity in available freight tonne kilometres grew 2.4 per cent in the first three months to 25.6 billion and by three per cent to nine billion in March.

Load factors improved across the region, up 4.1 percentage points to 62.7 per cent in the first quarter and 5.8 percentage points in March to 67.6 per cent.

AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman says: “Air cargo markets experienced a strong start to the year, with a firm 9.6% increase during the first quarter of 2017. Elevated consumer and business confidence levels in some developed and emerging market economies translated into increased orders, thus supporting demand for airfreight shipments.”

He says the outlook is mostly positive though adds: “The airline operating environment has become increasingly challenging, with oil prices off historic lows, and increasing cost pressures due to rising input costs. Asia Pacific carriers will continue to strive for cost efficiencies whilst launching new destinations and maintaining customer service innovation.”