Home » Aviation » Asia-Pacific airlines register improvements in Nov traffic

Member airlines of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) posted higher figures in November suggesting a slow but steady recovery from the effects of the global economic crisis.

The association said both cargo and passenger traffic registered significant improvements in November compared to depressed figures posted in the same period of last year.

Latest data from AAPA showed that air cargo demand increased 12% to 4.66 million tons compared to the 4.16 million tons posted in November 2008.

The average AAPA international air cargo load factor was 8.2 percentage points higher at 71.1% for the month.

Passage traffic, meanwhile, grew 3.5% from 10.649 million to 11.128 million in November of 2008 while the average AAPA international load factor for the month reached 76.3% or 4.9 percentage points up on the same month last year.

“After a difficult year, in which AAPA international passenger traffic has fallen 8%, and international air cargo traffic registered a 14% decline, the November traffic figures are mildly encouraging, in line with the broader economic recovery underway being led by the Asia Pacific region,” AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said in a report. “However, in absolute terms, demand remains well below pre-recession levels.”

Low yields, continuing oil price volatility

“The aviation industry is still wrestling with the problem of low yields and continuing oil price volatility, so a recovery in airline profitability is still some way off,” Herdman said, noting that overall, market conditions remain extremely challenging.

Despite capacity cutbacks and other cost-reduction efforts, airlines are still struggling to restore profitability, particularly now that the price of oil is rising and driving up cost.

Also, airlines have been responding to the sharp falls in demand by progressively reducing capacity, although not quickly enough to prevent falls in average load factors.

There are also efforts to stimulate demand through highly competitive fares and discounted travel packages but lower yields are further undermining revenues.

A number of carriers have also taken steps to strengthen their balance sheets through a variety of new financing initiatives in order to ride out the prolonged economic storm.

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