Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Asian air carriers enjoy sustained growth in passenger, cargo markets despite trade tensions

Air passenger traffic continued to expand at an encouraging pace, while international air cargo volumes remained firm, notwithstanding tensions around global trade policies, according to the October figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

The number of international passengers carried by Asia-Pacific airlines climbed 6.0% higher to a combined total of 29.5 million for the month. Demand in revenue passenger kilometer terms increased by 6.2%, ahead of the 5.7% expansion in available seat capacity. As a result, the average international passenger load factor edged 0.4 percentage points higher to 78.9% in October.

Asian airlines saw international air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometers increase by 5.6% year-on-year in October, supported by increasing orders going into the year-end peak season. Offered freight capacity rose by 7.3%, resulting in a 1.1 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 65.5% for the month.

Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said, “The global economy continued to expand moving into the fourth quarter, with further strengthening of global services activity but somewhat slower expansion in the global manufacturing sectors. Together with improvements in connectivity, these factors supported the continued growth in air traffic demand for Asian carriers.”

In the first 10 months of the year, Asian airlines reported a healthy 7.2% increase in the number of international passengers carried to an aggregate total of 296 million. International air cargo traffic carried by Asian airlines recorded 4.8% growth during the same period.

Looking ahead, Herdman said, “Prospects for further growth in air travel demand and air cargo markets remain positive. Geopolitical risks and uncertainty over unresolved trade tensions are a concern, but consumer confidence levels remain relatively robust.”

HKIA records growth in October

Meanwhile, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) recorded growth in passenger traffic and cargo volume in October 2018, handling 6.19 million passengers for a year-on-year increase of 0.5% and processing 451,000 tonnes of cargo and airmail, a 2.8% rise over the same month last year.

The growth in passenger traffic was mainly driven by Hong Kong resident travel, which registered a 7% year-on-year increase over the same month last year. Passenger traffic to and from Japan and Europe saw the most significant increases.

HKIA reported a 7% year-on-year rise in transshipments, which continued to be the main driver for cargo growth. Amongst key trading regions, traffic to and from North America and Southeast Asia posted the most significant increases for the month.

Over the first 10 months of the year, HKIA handled 62.2 million passengers and 4.21 million tonnes of cargo and airmail, representing year-on-year increases of 2.8% and 2.6%, respectively.

On a 12-month rolling basis, HKIA handled 74.5 million passengers and 5.15 million tonnes of cargo and airmail, representing increases of 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively, over the same period last year.

Photo: Kiefer. from Frankfurt, Germany

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