Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Preliminary traffic figures for the month of October released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed solid expansion in international air passenger demand and healthy growth in international air cargo markets.
Global business and consumer confidence levels remained positive, supporting growth in travel demand for the region's carriers on long haul routes, particularly between Europe and Asia, as well as within the region. Overall, Asia Pacific airlines registered a firm 8.3% increase in the number of international air passengers carried to a combined total of 26.4 million in October, whilst demand in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) grew by 9.7%. After accounting for an 8.1% increase in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points higher to 78.0% for the month.
Reflecting the sustained upturn in global trade for consumer and intermediate goods, Asia Pacific airlines saw international air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), increase by 5.8% in October, even when compared to the high base levels recorded in the same month last year. Offered freight capacity expanded by 4.1%, resulting in a 1.1 percentage point increase in the average international freight load factor to 66.9% for the month.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, "During the first ten months of the year, Asia Pacific airlines carried a total of 262 million international passengers, representing a 5.7% increase compared to the same period last year. International air cargo traffic demand grew by a robust 10.1% during the same period."
Mr. Herdman added, "The encouraging results mirror the current solid and steady expansion in the global economy. Airlines have responded by strengthening their networks offering additional frequencies and adding new destinations. At the same time, the rise in global economic activity has seen a sustained pick up in global trade and transportation of manufactured goods, with air cargo playing an important role in restocking global supply chains and the growth of e-commerce. As a result, Asian airlines continued to enjoy healthy growth in the air cargo segment, maintaining the broad upswing in demand which began in the latter half of 2016."
Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman concluded, "The overall demand outlook remains positive, although Asian airlines are operating in highly competitive markets and face rising cost pressures, with average jet fuel prices up 24% to US$64 per barrel for the first ten months of the year. Nevertheless, Asian airlines remain focused on implementing further improvements in operational efficiency and other cost saving measures, whilst identifying new opportunities for revenue generation."