Air cargo demand continues to flounder under the weight of the ongoing tariff war between China and the US, with May traffic for Asia-Pacific carriers down 6.5 per cent according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).
“The wider imposition of trade tariffs dampened demand and affected global supply chains, leading to declines in new export orders,” the AAPA says. Consequently, the region’s airlines registered a 6.5 per cent fall in air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) in May.
Combined with a marginal 0.3 per cent increase in offered freight capacity, the average international freight load factor fell by 4.3 percentage points to 59 per cent for the month.
Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general says: “Sustained expansion in major global and regional economies supported further growth in passenger markets, but air cargo demand is weak as a result of the slowdown in the manufacturing sector and deteriorating business confidence, undermined by the ongoing trade disputes.”
Overall, during the first five months of the year, Asian airlines saw a 6.2 per cent contraction in air cargo demand.
Looking ahead, Herdman says: “Whilst prospects for growth in travel markets remain positive, operating conditions have become increasingly challenging for the region’s carriers.
“Airlines are grappling with the effects of weaker air cargo demand, volatile oil prices and renewed downward pressure on passenger yields. Nevertheless, the region’s airlines remain focused on improving operational productivity to deliver value added services to customers.”