Strong October for Asia Pacific

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Asia Pacific airlines have seen freight tonne kilometres (FTK) rise to 5.6 billion in October, after two months stuck at 5.2 billion, according to Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) data.

The October figures are the second highest of the year after March, making up for August and September. FTK has been volatile throughout the year, in January it was 4.7 billion before dropping to four billion in February and rising to the yearly high of 5.7 billion in March.

FTK dropped again in April to 5.1 billion before rising to 5.2 billion for May and June. It increased to 5.4 billion in July before dropping back down to 5.2 billion for August and September. Year-to-date (YTD) FTK has increased by 5.1 per cent to 51.7 billion, compared to 49.1 billion during the same period of 2013.

AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman says: “Airfreight markets grew by 5.1 per cent. Generally positive regional economic conditions and trade gains provided support for growth in the cargo market segments.”

Despite the positive October figures, Herdman warns that challenges of costs and overcapacity remain. “Asian airlines continue to grapple with numerous challenges, including persistent yield pressures arising from intense market competition and signs of overcapacity, which led to tight profit margins.” He says fuel costs remain the single largest cost but oil prices have declined. “Asian carriers remain positive on the outlook for further growth, but are still carefully controlling costs in a bid to restore profitability to more sustainable levels.”

The load factor in October was 66.4 per cent, the second highest month of the year after March. The load factor in January was 61.3 per cent, dipping to 61.2 per cent in February and rising in March to 68.4 per cent. It declined to 64.3 per cent in April, before rising to 64.9 per cent and 66.1 per cent in May and June, respectively. July saw a drop to 65.3 per cent before sliding to 63.5 per cent in August and rising slightly to 64.1 per cent in September. The YTD load factor was 64.4 per cent, 0.5 percentage points higher than 2013.

YTD available FTK (AFTK) increased by 4.3 per cent to 80.2 billion. AFTK saw a year-on-year rise of 3.8 per cent in October, less than the 6.4 per cent rise in FTK in the same month. AFTK has increased by varying amounts throughout 2014, it rose by 5.3 per cent in January and 1.6 per cent in February. In March it was up by 5.9 per cent, followed by a 5.3 per cent increase in April. May, June, July, August and September saw smaller rises of four per cent, 3.4 per cent, 3.2 per cent, 3.2 per cent and four per cent, respectively.

One airline that had a strong October was Cathay Pacific, seeing cargo increase by 14 per cent to 156,590 tonnes.

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