AAPA: Asia Pacific plummets 12% in February

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A Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400F

Airlines in Asia Pacific have seen cargo volumes plummet by 12.1 per cent in February due to weak global volumes and the timing of the Lunar New Year, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) says.

Freight tonne kilometres (FTK) fell from 4.9 billion in February 2015 to 4.3 billion this year. Overcapacity continued with available FTKs (AFTK) increasing by 1.3 per cent to 7.6 billion. The region’s load factor fell by 8.6 percentage points to 56.8 per cent.

AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman says: “Air cargo markets are showing further declines, reflecting the slowdown in global trade and raising some deeper concerns about the future outlook for the wider global economy.”

In the first two months of 2016, cargo volumes are down by 6.2 per cent to 9.4 billion FTK. Capacity in AFTK increased by 2.1 per cent to 16.2 billion, and the load factor has fallen by 5.2 percentage points to 58.2 per cent.

The cargo results are in stark contrast to passenger numbers, with revenue passenger kilometres increasing by 10.2 per cent to 176 billion in January and February.

Herdman says: “The region’s carriers remain positive on the outlook for further growth in travel demand in the coming year, but are continuing to focus on disciplined cost management efforts, including the effects of low oil prices and currency volatility in an intensely competitive market place.”

The weakness at the start of 2016 follows from 2015 when the region was given an unexpected boost due to the US West Coast seaport strike before struggling from the middle of the year due to weakening global trade. In 2015, Asia Pacific airlines saw FTK increase by 1.6 per cent to 64.9 billion, seeing most of the growth at the beginning of the year.