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Asian airfreight shows no signs of slowing in May

A solid 12.2 percent increase in volumes and a 4.7 percentage-point increase in freight load factors (FLF) for the month of May, year-over-year, are helping to overturn predictions that Asia’s airfreight markets were headed for a “seasonal cooling,” according to the latest numbers from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Even more impressive is the fact that May’s rise in FLF occurred despite Asian carriers’ 4.3 percent addition, y-o-y, of offered freight capacity, the AAPA reported. While the AAPA report does not cover margins, these developments suggest that yields are rising as well.

For the five-month period from January through May, freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) for AAPA-member airlines were up 10.5 percent, y-o-y, to 27.87 billion FTKs.

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“The ongoing pick-up in the global economy, accompanied by increased consumer and investment spending, has provided a boost to both international air passenger and air cargo markets,” said Andrew Herdman, AAPA’s director general. “Asian carriers are major players in the global air cargo market and continue to benefit from the upswing in trade growth.”

Herdman, however, added a note of caution. While the AAPA still expects markets to remain strong, airline profitability remains constrained by competitive yield pressures and higher operating costs, he warned, noting also that fuel costs have risen by 38 percent to average US$53 per barrel during the first five months of the year.


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