Asia Pacific airlines saw another month of cargo volume growth in October — the second month of an uptick this year — boosted by e-commerce shipments going into the holiday season.
Traffic figures released by the Kuala Lumpur-based Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed international air cargo demand — measured in freight tonne-kilometres (FTK) — was up 3.2% year-on-year last month.
"Despite some moderation in trade activity, October saw Asia Pacific airlines post a 3.2% increase in international air cargo demand as measured in FTK when compared to the depressed volumes recorded in the same month last year," AAPA said in its report.
It noted that offered freight capacity expanded by 8.9% year-on-year, leading to a 3.3 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to an average of 61.2% for the month.
"The region's airlines posted a second consecutive month of growth in international air cargo demand in October, ahead of major promotional retail sales periods such as Singles Day, supporting higher volumes of e-commerce shipments going into the year-end festive season," said Subhas Menon, director-general at AAPA.
He added that as a result, the decline in international air cargo demand narrowed to 5.4% for the ten-month period.
Looking ahead, Menon said, while the cargo growth is a positive sign — uncertainties remain for the industry.
"For air cargo markets, the recent uptick in demand is welcome, although the outlook remains uncertain, against a background of continued declines in export orders," he said.
"Overall, the region's carriers remain focused on improving financial performance following three years of steep pandemic-led losses whilst delivering the highest levels of customer service," Menon added.