Asia Pacific airlines traffic results published for March 2017

International air passenger demand continued to grow at an encouraging pace, whilst the expansion in air cargo markets accelerated further.


Underpinned by positive business and consumer sentiment, the region’s carriers recorded a 4.2% increase in the number of international passengers carried to a combined total of 25.5 million. Encouraging growth in long haul travel markets was reflected in the 6.7% rise in demand, as measured in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms. The average international passenger load factor edged 1.1 percentage points higher to 78.6%, after accounting for a 5.2% increase in available seat capacity.

In March, manufacturing production of major Asian economies expanded at a steady pace, on the back of continued rise in new business orders. This helped support export-import activity, in turn benefiting the air cargo sector. As a result, the month saw the region’s carriers register a healthy 12.7% increase in international air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK). Offered freight capacity expanded by a comparatively modest 3.0%, resulting in a significant rise in the average international freight load factor, by 5.8 percentage points to reach 67.6% for the month. 

Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said:

“During the first quarter of the year, Asian carriers reported a 4.8% increase in the number of international passengers carried to an aggregate total of 76 million. Growth in passenger traffic volumes remained relatively encouraging, supported by the widespread availability of affordable airfares.”

Mr. Herdman added:

“Air cargo markets experienced a strong start to the year, with a firm 9.6% increase during the first quarter of 2017. Elevated consumer and business confidence levels in some developed and emerging market economies translated into increased orders, thus supporting demand for air freight shipments.”     

Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman continued, “The outlook for air passenger and cargo markets remains positive, against the backdrop of a broad upturn in global economic conditions. However, the airline operating environment has become increasingly challenging, with oil prices off historic lows, and increasing cost pressures due to rising input costs. Asia Pacific carriers will continue to strive for cost efficiencies whilst launching new destinations and maintaining customer service innovation.”

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