Airfreight demand strong for Asia-Pacific

AAPAThe late timing of the Chinese New Year (Feb. 19) and the bottlenecks from the West Coast port crisis in the United States may have played havoc with the last two months’ worth of airfreight data, skewing numbers to unnaturally high and low traffic figures in most regions of the world. But the most recent data from February, released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), were unambiguously positive, especially when viewed along with figures from the previous month.

International air cargo demand for Asia-Pacific carriers, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK), rose by a mighty 20.5 percent in February, compared to the same month from last year. The growth rate was significantly higher than the year-over-year capacity growth of 12.6 percent, leading to a 4.2 percentage-point rise in freight load factor, to 65.2 percent.

Noting the confusion surrounding the Chinese New Year totals this year, AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman, chose to comment on both January and February’s combined totals, measured against the same time frame in 2014.“The timing of the Chinese New Year holiday period affects the monthly comparisons… but airfreight demand achieved an impressive 12.8 percent increase during the same two-month period, with robust demand for Asian exports, particularly to North America, where the recent port dispute affected some maritime shipping operations.”

Regarding the outlook for Asian carriers, Herdman said AAPA “remains broadly positive,” thanks to the benefits of lower oil prices. “Nevertheless, Asian airlines are having to carefully match capacity growth with actual demand, whilst coping with the effects of increased currency volatility affecting both costs and revenues.”

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