Strong start to 2024 for Asia Pacific carriers


Asia Pacific airlines had a good start to the year for both cargo and passengers, said the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) in releasing its preliminary January 2024 traffic figures.

AAPA reported healthy growth in international freight, underpinned by strong demand ahead of the Lunar New Year festive season.

January saw a continuation of growth in air cargo, propelled by seasonal factors. International cargo demand, in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), recorded a 22.5% year-on-year increase for the month, extending the rebound of the last quarter of 2023.

Nevertheless, growth in freight capacity continued to outpace demand, due to the recovery in belly-hold capacity, rising by 25.8% year-on-year and cutting load factors by 1.6 percentage points to 57.5%.

Meanwhile, the region’s airlines carried 27.0 million international passengers in January, a 49.4% increase from the previous corresponding period and reached 82.0% of 2019 levels.

AAPA director general, Subhas Menon, said: “The year started on a positive note for Asia Pacific airlines, as both international air passenger and cargo markets saw robust growth, supported by the timing of the Lunar New Year festive period…Cargo markets benefitted from heightened demand for air shipments ahead of the festive period.”

He added: “The upcoming year looks broadly positive for Asian carriers, given the renewed optimism on the global economic outlook. However, as capacity restoration progresses, airlines face intensifying competition. In addition, the cost environment remains challenging, as inflationary pressures continue to be felt amid ongoing supply chain issues. Nevertheless, airlines remain pro-active in seeking new growth opportunities, while maintaining the highest safety and customer service standards.”

Preliminary traffic figures for 2023 released by the AAPA showed international air cargo demand declined by 2.8% year on year.


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