Date: 03/04/2024

Asia-Pacific airlines show strong growth in cargo demand

Preliminary February 2024 traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed strong growth in both international air passenger and air cargo demand. Passenger markets were boosted by a surge in leisure travel during the Lunar New Year festive period, while air cargo demand grew as a result of business and e-commerce activity.
With inflation levels moderating, rising demand spurred renewed vigour in the global manufacturing sector, supporting further growth in air cargo markets. As a result, international air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), increased by 10.2% year-on-year in February. Offered freight capacity expanded by a robust 20.8%, primarily from growth in belly-hold space. Consequently, the average international freight load factor fell by 5.5 percentage points to 57.3% for the month, informed a release.
Commenting on the results, Mr Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General, said, “During the first two months of the year, Asian carriers saw continued robust growth in international passenger markets, with 54 million passengers carried, an increase of 53% compared with the corresponding period in the previous year. The strong demand came on the back of ongoing network expansion by carriers, with load factors at levels seen before the pandemic”.
“The same period saw a 16% increase in international air cargo demand, progressing the recovery recorded since the last quarter of 2023. Healthy growth in e-commerce transactions fuelled a rise in demand for speedier air transport. Additionally, there were also indications of a modal shift from sea to air due to the Red Sea crisis.”
Looking ahead, Mr Menon said, “The upturn in global economic activity and rise in business confidence levels augurs well for air cargo markets in the coming months. Correspondingly, the demand outlook for international travel is positive based on forward booking trends. The region’s carriers remain nimble and proactive in exploring new avenues of growth, whilst at the same time tackling numerous challenges including rising operational costs and stiff competition”.