International traffic on Asia-Pacific carriers grew 7.9% to 276.3 million passengers in 2015, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). Over 20 million additional international passengers were carried by Asia-Pacific carriers in 2015, pushing the rate of growth in the sector to exceed 2014’s 4.9% year-over-year (YOY) growth by 3 points.

Low oil prices pushed the region’s airlines to competitively lower their airfares, boosting passenger traffic in the region, AAPA said.

“Long-haul travel markets prospered on the back of an improvement in economic conditions in selected advanced economies,” AAPA DG Andrew Herdman said, adding that regional travel demand also grew solidly in 2015, despite sluggishness in the Asia-Pacific economy and regional currency weaknesses.

“Less optimistically, air cargo markets saw only marginal growth [in] 2015, a reflection of the slowdown in global trade,” Herdman said.

In 2105, international traffic at Asia-Pacific airlines rose 8.2% YOY to 1 trillion RPKs total; capacity in the region was 1.28 trillion ASKs, up 6.3% YOY. The region’s total passenger load factor for the year came in at 78.4%, up 1.4 points YOY.

Air cargo traffic in the Asia-Pacific region was up 1.6% YOY in 2015, to 64.93 billion FTKs; air freight capacity for the year increased 3.5% YOY to 101.86 billion FATKs, resulting in a 63.7% aggregate freight load factor for 2015, down 1.3 points YOY.

“Competitive market conditions continued to restrain margins [at Asian airlines]; airline profitability was … affected by currency volatility and variations in individual fuel hedging policies,” Herdman said. “[But] the outlook for air travel markets in 2016 remains broadly positive, although there are significant risk factors ... including increased uncertainty over the regional economic outlook.”

AAPA’s figures—all of which are provisional—are based on aggregated traffic data for 31 Asia Pacific-based carriers.

Source: ATWOnline

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