Asia Pacific airlines record solid 2013 international passenger traffic growth

ASIA PACIFIC. Airlines based in the Asia Pacific region registered solid international passenger traffic growth in 2013, with recovering economies around the world helping increase demand. That’s according to preliminary traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

The 25 Asia Pacific-based airlines carried a combined total of 220 million international passengers in 2013, up +6% on the previous year. The organisation said regional economic growth remained a positive driver of increases in business and leisure travel demand. This was enhanced by improving business and consumer confidence in the major developed markets.

Measured in revenue passenger kilometre terms, international passenger traffic registered a more moderate +5.2% increase. Combined with a +4.8% expansion in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor reached 78.2%, 0.3 percentage points higher than in 2012.

AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said: “Regional economies slowed a little but maintained positive growth rates, while signs of recovery in Europe and a stronger pickup in the US economy led to broader improvements in business and consumer sentiment.

“Domestic air travel markets in the Asia Pacific region also enjoyed strong growth, with domestic passenger numbers up +10% to an estimated 740 million for the year, led by China. Overall, therefore, Asia Pacific airlines carried close to 1 billion passengers in 2013, a significant milestone.”

Looking ahead to the rest of this year, Herdman said the outlook for Asia carriers remained “broadly positive”, with expectations of a continuing modest improvement in global economic conditions.

“Operating margins remain compressed as a result of weak cargo revenues and other competitive pricing pressures,” he added. “Airlines are responding by investing in newer more fuel-efficient aircraft, other productivity improvements, and value added service enhancements.”

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