Preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) for the month of July 2013 show continued growth in international passenger traffic, whereas international air cargo demand remained weak.

Collectively, carriers based in the Asia Pacific region carried a total of 19.5 million international passengers in July, a 6.6% increase compared to the same month last year, reflecting robust demand, particularly on regional routes. Measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), international passenger traffic grew by 6.1%. With available seat capacity expanding at a similar pace of 6.2%, the average international passenger load factor was maintained at a high level of 80.0%.

For Asia Pacific airlines, international air cargo demand, expressed in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms, fell by 2.6% in July compared to the same month last year, extending the prevailing period of weak market demand over the past two years. Offered freight capacity expanded by 1.8%, resulting in a deterioration in the average international freight load factor by 2.9 percentage points to 64.2% for the month.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, "During the first seven months of the year, Asia Pacific airlines carried an aggregate total of 127 million international passengers, a solid 5.8% increase compared to the same period last year. Continued growth in regional Asian economies maintained positive consumer and business sentiment, and was reflected in passenger demand for both leisure and business related travel. On the other hand, air freight markets remained weak, with a further 2.4% fall in air freight demand during the first seven months of the year, as a result of weak demand in Europe and other key export markets."

Mr Herdman added, "Asian airlines remain optimistic about the potential for further growth in passenger traffic, and are committed to maintaining their competitive edge with ongoing investments in fleet upgrades and network development, as well as a range of innovative new product and customer service initiatives. Less positively, Asian airlines have been badly affected by the extended slump in the air cargo market, with surplus freighter capacity depressing both rates and aircraft values. Whilst the outlook for further global economic growth remains positive, airlines continue to focus on delivering productivity improvements and remain vigilant in managing costs throughout the business."

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