Home » Aviation » Asia-Pac airlines see higher cargo, passenger volumes in March

MEMBERS of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) saw their passenger and cargo traffic volumes post double-digit growth in March, suggesting a sustained recovery from the global recession is in the offing.

The Asia Pacific-based airlines carried 15.6 million international passengers in March 2010, up 14.8% compared to the same month last year while cargo demand grew 33.1% due to the robust recovery in international trade.

Freight capacity increased by a more restrained 12.6% resulting in an average international air cargo load factor for Asia Pacific carriers of 11.3 percentage points to 73.1%.

“These figures provide further confirmation that the global economic recovery is well underway, led by quicker growth in leading Asia Pacific economies, but also accompanied by welcome signs of a pickup in both business and consumer confidence in major developed markets,” AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said.

“For the first quarter of 2010, we have seen a 13.2% growth in international passenger numbers, buoyed by increasing business and leisure-related travel. The international air cargo market has bounced back strongly from last year’s slump in international trade, recording a 33.8% jump in cargo volumes compared to the same period last year,” Herdman explained.

“Both passenger and cargo traffic volumes are close to returning to levels last achieved before the recession began to hit hard in mid-2008. Meanwhile, careful management of capacity has helped improve asset utilization, and has been a key factor in steering airlines back towards profitability after two years of heavy losses,” he said.

Iceland volcanic eruption

Meanwhile, AAPA member airlines have been negatively impacted by disruptions in air travel in Europe due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland.

Asia Pacific airlines were forced to cancel most services to and from Europe for a period of six days, resulting in lost revenues estimated at $250 million and considerable inconvenience to the traveling public and air cargo shippers.

However, with conditions slowly getting back to normal, AAPA member airlines are quickly restoring services and have been mounting additional flights to clear the backlog of stranded passengers and cargoes.

“Provided there are no further disruptions of this kind, we remain confident that the underlying positive trends for travel and tourism, in terms of a broad-based economic recovery, will be sustained in the coming months,” Herdman said.

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