Preliminary traffic figures from the Association
of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of November 2018
show sustained growth in international air passenger markets,
underpinned by continued strength in the global services sectors.

Air cargo volumes remained relatively high but
demand growth was almost flat for the month.

The region’s airlines carried a combined total
of 29.0 million international passengers in November 2018,
representing a 6.2% increase compared to the same month last year.
Measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, demand
increased by 6.5%, reflecting relative strength on long haul
markets. Available seat capacity expanded by 6.0%, resulting in a
slight increase in the average international passenger load
factor, by 0.3 percentage points to 79.3% for the month.

Korean Air Boeing 747-400 at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea. Picture by Steven Howard of Click to enlarge.

International air cargo demand as measured in
freight tonne kilometres (FTK) edged 0.1% higher in November, just
matching the strong demand recorded during the same month in the
previous year. Offered freight capacity increased by 5.9% leading
to a 3.8 percentage point decline in the average international
freight load factor to 65.2%.

Andrew Herdman,
AAPA Director General said, “Business and leisure travel markets
continued to expand at an encouraging pace for the region’s
airlines, on the back of continued global economic expansion and
rising regional living standards. Overall, for the first eleven
months of the year, Asian airlines registered a healthy 7.1%
increase in the number of international passengers carried to an
aggregate total of 325 million.”

“Meanwhile, the moderation in export activity
with slowing business orders, contributed to the slowdown in air
cargo growth for the month, although this was mitigated by higher
volumes of e-commerce shipments going into the end-year festive
season. Overall, the region’s airlines recorded a cumulative 4.3%
increase in air cargo demand during the first eleven months of the
year, a reasonably solid growth rate following the exceptionally
strong 9.6% annual increase recorded in 2017.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman said, “Overall
prospects remain relatively positive. Continued moderate growth in
the global economy and lowered oil prices should support further
expansion in air travel demand and air cargo markets in the coming
year, although the recent deterioration in trade sentiment and
uncertainties over the potential impact on consumer confidence
levels present some downside risks. Overall, Asian airlines
continue to exercise vigilance in monitoring any changes in market
conditions, whilst seeking growth opportunities.”

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