Low oil prices earlier in the year, coupled with a highly competitive market and expanded travel networks, prompted Asia-Pacific carriers to slash airfares, boosting international passenger demand 6.6% year-over-year (YOY) to 1.1 trillion RPKs in 2016. International capacity was up 6.3% YOY to 1.4 trillion ASKs, creating an international passenger load factor of 78.7%, up 0.3 point from 2015.
“Notwithstanding some unexpected geopolitical developments and macro-economic uncertainty in 2016, air passenger traffic carried by Asian airlines continued to grow,” AAPA DG Andrew Herdman said. “Asian regional travel markets were relatively strong, as was demand on routes to and from North America, although routes from Asia to Europe saw some weakness following terrorist-related incidents.”
Asia-Pacific air freight markets improved in the second half of 2016, AAPA said, after a lackluster start to the year. For the full year, air freight demand grew 1.8% to 66.3 billion FTKs, reflecting a 2.2% YOY contraction in the first half of the year followed by a 5.7% YOY rise in the second half of the year. AAPA attributed the growth to expansion in manufacturing production and international exports, combined with increasing consumer market demand within Asia. Air cargo capacity grew 3.5% YOY to 106 billion ATKs, creating a freight load factor of 62.5% for the year, down one point YOY.
“The outlook for [Asia-Pacific] air travel markets in 2017 remains broadly positive,” Herdman said, “[but] the earlier boost to demand from falling oil prices is now behind us, and growth rates may moderate.”
In December, international passengers in the region increased 6.7% YOY; traffic demand was up 7.5% and capacity during the month grew 5.2%, leading to a passenger load factor of 80.4%, up 1.7 points YOY. International air freight traffic increased 8.7% during the month, with capacity up 4.9%; the region’s’ freight load factor for the month was up 2.3 points YOY to 65.7%.
AAPA’s figures—all of which are provisional—are based on aggregated traffic data for 31 Asia Pacific-based carriers.
(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)