More Asian air cargo carriers will remove capacity this week year as export traffic remains week, said industry executives.
The current air cargo export market out of Asia was “very, very bad,” said Paul Tsui, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics. He pointed to a 10 percent year-over-year decrease of export traffic at Hong Kong International Airport in the first 11 months of last year. Total traffic was down 5.6 percent in the same period.
“Most of this is down to the EU debt crisis but the U.S economy is also not very stable and Japan has not fully recovered from its earthquake [and subsequent tsunami in March]. Overall the market is just really bad.”
Carriers have reacted by pulling back or ending service entirely.
Cargoitalia grounded its freighter operations late last month, and Jade Cargo International, a joint China-based joint venture of Lufthansa Cargo and Air China, suspended its freighter operations until Jan. 16. Air India recently scrapped its plans to set up dedicated freighter services from Asia.
Asia-Pacific airports saw overall cargo volume in November shrink of 3.2 percent year-over-year, with major export gateways hit most severely, according to ACI World. Taipei, Incheon, Hong Kong and Shanghai saw traffic fall 10.6 percent, 8.2 percent, 6.6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Asia-Pacific carriers in November saw traffic fall 6.5 percent year-over-year, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines. Carriers saw traffic fall 4.8 percent year-over-year in the first 11 months of the year.
The first Asia airport figures available for December, released by Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited showed a similarly disappointing picture. Volume was down 4.3 percent year-over-year and exports plummeted 9.3 percent. For the year in total, exports handled by HKIA’s leading cargo operator contracted by 9 percent year-over-year.
“Given unresolved concerns about the Eurozone debt crisis, and wider uncertainty about the global economic outlook for 2012, Asian carriers are bracing themselves for another tough year ahead,” said AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman.
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