Asia-Pacific airlines posted a slight 0.7 percent rise in airfreight traffic in December 2013 to 5,188 freight tonne kilometers (FTK) year-over-year, although this failed to boost soft air cargo market conditions for the full year.
However, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) forecasts improving days ahead in view of the slowly continuing recovery of the global economy.
Citing its latest data, AAPA said international air cargo demand for Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a marginal contraction of 0.6 percent in 2013 at 59,105 FTK compared to FY 2012.
This, however, was “an improvement from the steeper declines seen in 2012 and 2011,” it added.
Despite the fall in demand, the year saw a 1.1 percent expansion in cargo capacity, resulting in a 1.1 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 65.4 percent.
“Air cargo markets remained subdued in 2013, but picked up towards the end of the year in line with increasing demand for Asian exports in the major developed markets,” said Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general.
“Given expectations of a continuing modest improvement in global economic conditions, the outlook for Asian carriers remains broadly positive,” he continued. “Nevertheless, operating margins remain compressed as a result of weak cargo revenues and other competitive pricing pressures. Airlines are responding by investing in newer more fuel-efficient aircraft, other productivity improvements, and value-added service enhancements.”