Passenger and freight traffic among the major Asian carriers continued to fall in August, with demand continuing to be weak despite signs that global economies are bottoming out.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), which represents 17 major carriers in the region, says that international RPKs among its members fell by 5% from a year before. This was an indication of "continuing weaker demand for long-haul travel", adds the association.

The total number of international passengers carried was 2.9% lower at 11.9 million. Capacity, as measured by ASKs, fell by 6.7% and the load factor rose by 1.5 percentage points to 77.9%.

Cargo traffic, as measured by freight tonne kilometres (FTK), fell by 12.2% from a year before. With capacity reduced by 12.9%, the cargo load factor was a marginal 0.6 percentage points higher at 66.9%.

"The airline industry remains in critical condition despite some signs of a modest recovery in traffic volumes in recent months," says AAPA director-general Andrew Herdman.

"Airline revenues have been further undermined by the need to aggressively discount fares to stimulate demand in a shrinking market. Even with the benefit of capacity cutbacks and other cost reduction efforts, airlines are still suffering heavy losses, and are focused on survival."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news