Freight rises in Asia despite oil

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Asia Pacific air cargo demand grew by 4.4 per cent from January to May despite high oil prices being a cause for concern.

Figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show that freight tonne kilometres (FTK) rose from 23,852, during January to May 2013 to 24,908, for the same five months this year – a rise of 4.4 per cent.

FTK in May were 5,207, which is up on April when it was 5,108, but down on March, when it was 5,707. Export shipments to the US and Europe are gaining momentum, while Asia Pacific carriers have been struggling with weak demand and a weak Chinese currency.

The director general of AAPA, Andrew Herdman, says: “The growth in demand reflects generally positive economic sentiment in global trends. Nevertheless, the recent jump in oil prices above the $110 mark is another cause for concern. Asian carriers continue to carefully manage capacity in line with demand growth, keeping a tight rein on costs to maintain profitability.” 

As Air Cargo Week reported in its 19 May 2014 issue, revenue net earnings for Asia Pacific carriers slumped 55 per cent for 2013 to $2.5 billion, compared to $5.6 billion in 2012. At the time, Herdman said: “Asian carriers are still facing a difficult operating environment marked by continued market competition and volatile currency markets.” 

The freight load factor (FLF) rose in May to 64.9 per cent from 64.4 per cent last year, but the year-to-date figure fell from 64.4 per cent to 64 per cent. This is an increase on April, when it was 64.3 per cent, however, it is still down on March when it was 68.4 per cent. Freight available tonne kilometres (FATK) in May was 8,028, up on April when it was 7,943. This is also down on March, which saw a peak of 8,339, but is a big improvement on February’s 6,593.

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