Airlines based in the Asia Pacific region carried a combined total of 17.2 million international passengers in March – 10.6% more than in the same month last year.
According to the latest data from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), international passenger demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), grew by 9.4%, outpacing a 5.6% rise in available seat capacity. This caused Asian airlines’ average international load factors to jump 2.7 percentage points to 76.8%.
“We’re seeing sustained growth in passenger demand… underpinned by robust demand in the Asia Pacific region, and an improving US economy. On the other hand, international air cargo traffic for the first quarter fell by 4.1% year-on-year, reflecting a soft market and lingering concerns over weakening consumer demand, particularly in Europe,” said Andrew Herdman, Director General of the AAPA.
“The global macro-economic outlook is still overshadowed by the potentially dampening effects of stubbornly high oil prices, and poor growth prospects in Europe, but Asian economies are still delivering robust growth. Nevertheless, airline margins remain under pressure from high fuel costs, focusing attention on further efforts to tightly control costs and carefully match capacity to market demand,” Herdman added.
For the first three months of the year, international passenger traffic on Asia Pacific-based airlines rose 7.6%.