AAPA: air cargo markets remained buoyant in May

Air cargo markets remained buoyant in May according to preliminary traffic figures released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

AAPA said amidst rising global trade tensions, Asia Pacific airlines experienced an encouraging 4.9 per cent year-on-year increase in air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) in the month.

The association said the region’s economies enjoyed a firm increase in new orders during the month, on the back of a broader upturn across the region. At the same time, stronger demand for manufactured goods supported further growth in air cargo demand.

However, the average international freight load factor declined by 1.3 percentage points to 64.2 per cent for the month, after accounting for a faster 7.2 per cent growth in offered freight capacity.

AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman said: “Global economic expansion remained relatively solid, marked by a pick-up in business activity in major advanced economies, particularly the United States, and sustained growth in the leading Asian economies.”

He said air cargo demand grew by 5.4 per cent in the first five months of the year, with volumes “sustained at relatively high levels”.

Looking ahead, Herdman said: “Whilst the increase in new orders across the region is still quite encouraging, the recent escalation in protectionist rhetoric could potentially undermine confidence and destabilize global trade flows.

“In addition, the operating environment for airlines is increasingly challenging due to the impact of higher fuel costs. Accordingly, the region’s carriers continue to seek avenues to increase operational efficiencies in a bid to boost profitability.”