Home » Aviation » Air cargo up, passenger demand down in April

MODERATING growth and the Japan twin disasters caused a dip in April cargo demand for members of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

In contrast, passenger demand increased slightly due to the strong long-haul market.

Air cargo traffic demand, measured in freight ton kilometers, fell 2% in April compared to the same period last year. The average international freight load factor for the month also declined 2.9 percentage points to 68.5% following the 2.1% increase in available freight capacity.

Passenger traffic grew 4.5% in April. The average international passenger load factor was 2.1 percentage points lower, at 75%, as a 7.4% expansion in available seat capacity outpaced growth in demand.

Growth rates are likely to remain subdued in the second quarter as a result of the after-effect of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but will likely pick up in the second half of the year, AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said.

“Air passenger numbers for the month of April held up pretty well, despite the sharp falls in demand seen on Japanese routes, which normally accounts for about a fifth of traffic in the Asia Pacific region,” Herdman said.

“During the first four months of the year, the number of international passengers carried by Asia-Pacific based airlines grew by 3% compared to the corresponding period in 2010, while international freight traffic matched last year’s level.”

AAPA member lines remain broadly positive in their global economic outlook. However, with demand currently falling short of planned capacity growth and higher fuel cost, airlines are facing further pressure on thin margins, suggesting the need to strictly control costs throughout the business.

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