Air cargo operators in Asia are now finally seeing a few shafts of light after more than a year of gloom.
Figures from Hong Kong International Airport revealed that exports, transhipment traffic and freight movements to and from North America all performed well last month.
May figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines also showed a slight gain, with international air cargo demand measured in freight ton kilometers up 0.5 percent over May last year.
HKIA, the world’s largest by international volume, handled 339,000 metric tons of cargo last month, up 1.8 percent compared to a year earlier. Throughput over the first five months of this year rose 2.2 percent over 2012, while on a rolling 12-month basis cargo volumes of nearly 4.06 million tons handled represent 3.5 percent growth.
However, the AAPA warned that despite the increase in demand, a 2.2 percent rise in offered freight capacity had seen the average international air cargo load factor of Asian carriers fall 1.1 percentage points lower in May to 65.2 percent.
The leading hub in Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Changi Airport, also saw volumes contract some 3.2 percent in the first five months of 2013 after a dismal 2012.
Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General, said air cargo demand had been depressed for the past couple of years and was still following a downward trend.
"For the first five months of 2013, Asian airlines experienced a further 2.4% decline in air freight traffic volumes, reflecting weak trading conditions in key export markets,” he said.