Preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of January 2015 show continued steady growth in both international air passenger numbers and air cargo demand. Underpinned by robust regional travel markets, a combined total of 22.4 million international passengers flew on the region’s carriers in January, 4.6 per cent more than the same month last year.
International passenger demand, in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, grew by 3.9 per cent, whilst available seat capacity expanded by 5.5 per cent, leading to a 1.2 per centage point decline in the average international passenger load factor to 77.4 per cent for the month.
Import-export activity leading up to the Lunar New Year festive period contributed to a seven per cent increase in international air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK). The average international freight load factor continued to strengthen, recording a 1.3 per centage point increase to 61.8 per cent on a 4.8 per cent increase in offered freight capacity.
Andrew Herdman, director general, AAPA said, “The year began on a positive note for Asian carriers, with air passenger demand posting a solid increase above the healthy volumes achieved in January last year. Air freight markets continued to see good growth, reflecting sustained consumer demand from North America and Europe for Asia-manufactured goods. The demand outlook appears positive for the coming year, on expectations of further growth in the global economy, whilst lower oil prices should help to keep air travel affordable. Nevertheless, Asian carriers continue to face challenges marked by a competitive operating environment and the need to carefully monitor capacity in line with evolving market conditions.”