Air passenger traffic in Asia continued to grow through August, driving average laod factors above the 80 percent mark.
According to preliminary data from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), regional airlines carried an aggregate total of 18.5 million international passengers in August, a 6.8 percent increase compared to the same month last year, led by relatively strong demand for regional travel. International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, grew more modestly, by 5.3 percent.
Offered seat capacity expanded by 3.5 percent, resulting in a 1.4 percentage point increase in the average international passenger load factor to 80.3 percent for the month.
Air freight markets remain depressed, as a result of weakening consumer confidence in the major developed economies leading to a corresponding slowdown in exports from Asia.
Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said; “The overall trend in international air travel demand remains encouraging, as reflected in the 7.9 percent increase in the number of passengers carried by Asia Pacific based airlines during the first eight months of this year. Whilst the overall pace of global economic activity is clearly slowing, Asian economies have so far remained relatively resilient with domestic demand still supporting business and leisure related travel.”
“However, we are still seeing persistent weakness in air cargo markets, with Asian carriers posting a 4.4 percent decline in international air cargo demand during the first eight months of the year, with no sign of any upturn.”
Herdman concluded; “Notwithstanding the evident slowdown in the global economy, oil prices remain high, averaging US$112 per barrel so far this year, further pressuring airline margins and industry profitability.”