Asia’s airlines recorded a combined net profit of $5.2 billion last year as strong passenger growth offset weak cargo markets and high fuel prices.
Net profit and operating revenue for the region’s carriers in 2012 grew 6.7 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively, compared to a year earlier, while passenger revenue rose 8.5 percent, according to figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines. However, cargo incomes fell 3.3 percent year-over-year, and operating expenses increased 7 percent compared to 2011.
Andrew Herdman, association director general, said Asia-Pacific airlines recorded a modest improvement in their overall financial performance for 2012, underpinned by sustained economic growth that increased passenger demand. “Prudent capacity management maintained relatively high load factors, helping to offset the impact of persistently high fuel prices and an extended period of weak demand in the global air cargo market,” he added.
The cargo downturn suffered by Asia’s carriers in 2012 has continued this year. International air cargo demand registered a 0.8 percent year-over-year decline in April, and was 3.2 percent lower in the first four months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
"The outlook for international air cargo demand remains clouded by uncertainty over the likely pace of any pickup in world trade flows,” Herdman said.