Asian airlines’ international air cargo traffic for November increased 5.3% year-over-year (YOY) to 6.1 billion FTKs, a 1.3% rise in FTKs from October, according the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA). International air cargo capacity was up 3.2% for the month to 9.1 billion FATKs; the freight load factor was 66.9%, up 1.4 points YOY.

“The region’s carriers have seen a modest but progressive recovery in international air cargo demand this year,” AAPA DG Andrew Herdman said. “Volume growth [is] 1.2% for the first 11 months of 2016.” AAPA attributed the rise to broad-based improvements in new export orders.

“Air cargo markets picked up modestly during the course of the year, but rates remain highly competitive, reflecting soft global trade conditions,” Herdman added.

Asia-Pacific airlines carried 23.3 million passengers on international scheduled services in November, up 4% YOY. International passenger traffic grew 6.2% to 87.4 billion RPKs, reflecting continued strength on long-haul travel markets, AAPA said. Capacity on international routes was up 5.1% YOY during the month, to 109.4 billion ASKs, bringing the average international passenger load factor to 77.4%, up 0.7 point from November 2015.

As of Nov. 30, the number of international passengers in the Asia-Pacific region in 2016 increased 5.9% YOY to 266.7 million passengers. Passenger demand for the 11-month period grew 6.6% YOY to 970.5 billion RPKs; capacity was up 6.4% YOY to 1.2 billion ASKs. The 11-month international passenger load factor for the region was 78.5%, up 0.1 point YOY.

“International air passenger demand [in the Asia-Pacific region] maintained a strong growth trend throughout 2016, despite geopolitical uncertainties, supported by lower oil prices and widespread availability of affordable air fares,” Herdman said, noting the general outlook for the global economy in 2017 remains positive, with further growth in demand for air travel expected.

“But airlines will need to be vigilant over costs, given fluctuations in oil prices as well as exchange rate volatility,” Herdman added.

Mark Nensel