All Nippon Airways 777-300. By Rob Finlayson

Asia Pacific airlines sustained growth in international passenger traffic during September, but international cargo declined, according to figures released Nov. 3 by the Assn. of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Asia Pacific carriers flew 16 million international passengers in September, a 5.4% increase over the same month last year, but freight was down 6.5% to 5 billion freight tonne kilometers.

AAPA said a slowdown in European and US demand for Asian exports caused the air cargo dip.

Briefing media in Seoul on the eve of the 55th AAPA assembly of presidents, AAPA DG Andrew Herdman said that, to date, the region’s year-over-year passenger traffic numbers are up 4%, but cargo is down 4%.

“Although airlines in Asia are still growing relatively robustly, we have seen weak cargo demand and a lot of problems in Europe and the US that are affecting confidence around the world,” Herdman said.

He added that there was an unusual amount of uncertainty about the outlook for next year. “Cargo has ceased to be normal—there are no seasonal peaks. These are not normal times in economic terms,” he said.