Latest monthly data from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) shows that international freight tonne km (FTK) surged 20.5 per cent last month, outpacing a 12.6 per cent increase in offered freight capacity.

AAPA said that the result – based on preliminary data – was a 4.2 percentage points increase in the average international freight load factor, to 65.2 per cent.

Commenting on the association’s upbeat passenger and cargo results, AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said: “The timing of the Chinese New Year holiday period affects the monthly comparisons, but taken together, the first two months of the year saw an 8.2 per cent increase in the number of international passengers carried by Asia Pacific airlines to a combined total of 44.3m, buoyed by healthy demand to major holiday destinations in the region.”

Commenting on January and February’s combined cargo figures, Herdman said that airfreight demand achieved an “impressive” 12.8 per cent increase, with “robust demand for Asian exports, particularly to North America where the recent port dispute affected some maritime shipping operations.”

Looking ahead, Herdman concluded, “The demand outlook for Asian carriers remains broadly positive, supported by the benefits of lower oil prices. Nevertheless, Asian airlines are having to carefully match capacity growth with actual demand, whilst coping with the effects of increased currency volatility affecting both costs and revenues.”