Airlines in the Asia Pacific region flew a total of 16.0 million international passengers in September – a growth of 5.4% compared to the same month last year. The result, revealed today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), was underpinned by business and leisure demand on intra-Asian routes. Measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), international passenger traffic grew by 5.2%. With available seat capacity expanding by 6.8%, the average international passenger load factor for Asian carriers fell 1.1 percentage points to 77.3%.
For the first three quarters of the year, Asia Pacific airlines saw a 3.7% increase in the number of international passengers carried.
“Resilient Asian economies, with relatively strong domestic spending power, helped support leisure and business travel markets,” said AAPA Director General, Andrew Herdman. “However, a slowdown in export demand, as a result of the ongoing European economic crisis and softening North American economies, contributed to the fall in overall cargo traffic. As a result, Asian airlines have seen only modest revenue growth this year. At the same time, airlines have had to grapple with a 40% increase in jet fuel prices, squeezing what are typically already very thin margins.
“Not withstanding the current challenges, and uncertainty about the global outlook, optimism about future growth opportunities remains positive for Asia Pacific carriers. This sentiment is underpinning ambitious fleet expansion plans, as well as the establishment of a number of new carriers of varying business models, including international partnerships and joint ventures,” Herdman added.