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AAPA: Traffic growth of 3.4% in March

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Preliminary traffic figures for the month of March released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed growth in international air passenger markets.

The region’s airlines carried an aggregate total of 31.7 million international passengers in March, a 3.4 per cent year-on-year increase on top of the double-digit growth recorded in the same month last year.

In revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, demand grew by 2.4 per cent whilst available seat capacity expanded by 4.2 per cent, leading to a 1.4 percentage point decline in the average international passenger load factor to 80 per cent for the month.

AAPA director general, Andrew Herdman said: “During the first quarter of the year, the number of international passengers carried by the region’s airlines grew by 5.3% to a combined total of 93 million. Intra-regional and inter-regional markets remained relatively robust, supported by continued growth in both business and leisure travel markets.”

Looking ahead, Herdman said: “Prospects for air travel markets remain positive, on expectations of continued moderate growth in the global economy.”

He added, “Having faced increasing headwinds to operating conditions, many of the region’s carriers saw a deterioration in earnings performance last year. Higher fuel and labour costs led to a squeeze in margins, despite continued growth in demand and some improvements to airline yields.

“Overall, Asia Pacific carriers continue to respond to an intensely competitive marketplace, actively implementing strategic initiatives and pursuing avenues for growth to sustain profitability.”