Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Preliminary traffic figures for the month of September released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed sustained growth in both international air passenger demand and air cargo markets, amid continued moderation in the global manufacturing sector.

The region's airlines registered a 5.9% year-on-year increase in the number of international passengers carried to a combined total of 28.2 million for the month. Underscoring strength in both regional and long haul travel markets, demand as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) recorded a 6.0% increase. The average international passenger load factor climbed 1.0 percentage points higher to 79.6% in September, following a 4.6% expansion in available seat capacity.

International air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) grew by 4.4% year-on-year in September, against a backdrop of easing expansion in global manufacturing production and new business orders. After accounting for a 6.5% increase in offered freight capacity, the average international freight load factor declined by 1.3 percentage points to 64.3% for the month.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, "Thanks to strong business and leisure travel demand, Asian airlines have experienced impressive growth in passenger markets thus far this year, underpinned by the region's expanding economies and buoyant global services sectors."

"Overall, during the first nine months of the year, the region's airlines experienced a robust 7.7% increase in the number of international passengers carried to a combined total of 267 million. In the same period, international air cargo demand grew by 4.7%, benefitting from sustained growth in international trade. The third quarter saw a slightly more moderate 4.3% increase in air cargo demand, compared to the 4.8% growth recorded during the first half of the year."

Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman said, "Global business confidence remains relatively firm, but may be undermined by uncertainty about emerging geopolitical risks and policy responses to escalating trade disputes. Nevertheless, Asian airlines expect continued growth in air travel demand in the coming months. Air cargo demand is also being supported by further growth in e-commerce. Overall, Asian airlines remain focused on adapting to changes in this always dynamic industry, seeking out additional growth opportunities whilst striving to maintain margins pressured by the impact of higher fuel prices."