Air cargo markets weakened further in June, according to preliminary traffic data from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). Last month’s numbers make eight consecutive months of volume decline.
The region’s airlines reported a 7.2 percent year-over-year drop in air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK), according to an AAPA media release. The average international load factor fell 5.1 percentage points, coming in at 58.8 percent for June after accounting for a 1 percent increase in freight capacity.
The association attributed the deterioration to a fall in global new export orders, fueled by waning business sentiment.
“During [the first half of the year], Asian airlines recorded a 6.2 percent decline in air cargo demand, reflecting prevailing weakness in international trade flows across regions, as widening trade disputes and higher tariffs continued to disrupt global supply chains,” Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said.
Looking ahead, Herdman expects air cargo numbers to remain weak due to moderating global business optimism levels and stalled progress in trade negotiations.
As air cargo markets have weakened, international air passenger has grown. The association attributed the growth in the passenger segment to affordable air fares and regional economic growth.
“The first half of the year saw the number of international passengers carried by Asian airlines grow by an encouraging 4.7 percent, to a combined total of 186 million, supported by strong leisure demand, which continued to outpace the global rate of economic expansion,” Herdman said.
The strength on the passenger side is expected to aid airlines in maintaining profitability despite falling air cargo demand.