Asia Pacific carriers post $2b net loss in 2009

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Asia Pacific carriers narrowed their losses in 2009, as lower fuel prices and cost control measures offset declining revenues.

Twenty-three carriers in the region posted an aggregate net loss of $2 billion, compared with a net loss of $8.8 billion in 2008, says the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Combined revenues fell 16% to $114.2 billion, while operating expenses fell 20% to $112.1 billion.

The airlines' total international RPKs fell 5% in 2009, while international air freight fell 10%.

"Asia Pacific carriers were particularly hard hit by the sharp declines seen in the premium business travel and air freight markets. Airlines reacted appropriately by moving quickly to adjust capacity, and introducing a range of measures to restrain costs throughout the business," says AAPA's director-general Andrew Herdman.

Looking ahead, Herdman says both passenger and cargo demand are close to returning pre-recession levels.

"Provided the current momentum is sustained, Asia Pacific airlines are poised to spearhead the recovery in the aviation industry, with an anticipated further improvement in financial performance for the year 2010 following two years of heavy losses," he adds.