Asia Pacific airlines report 'solid growth' in 2010, 'broadly positive' for 2011

Asia Pacific full service airlines recorded a strong rebound in traffic demand in 2010, bolstered by robust economic growth in Asia and an overall improvement in global economic conditions. “Robust” demand was seen for leisure and business travel, according to Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), which added that the outlook for 2011 remains "broadly positive".

Meanwhile, monthly growth rates have naturally moderated as the recovery is completed, although both passenger and cargo traffic volumes have now surpassed pre-recession peaks.

185 million pax in 2010; 70% above 2002 levels

According to AAPA, Asia Pacific carriers handled 185 million international passengers in 2010 for a “solid” 13.0% year-on-year increase. Passenger numbers are now 70% above 2002 levels and 45% above 2005 levels.

AAPA passenger numbers and passenger numbers growth: 2003 to 2010

Passenger numbers increased 7% to 16.3 million in Dec-2010.

AAPA passenger numbers growth and passenger load factor: Dec-2008 to Nov-2010

Traffic in 2010 increases at fastest pace in six years

International passenger traffic (RPKs) increased by 9.8% reflecting particularly strong demand on regional routes. Traffic increased at the fastest pace in the past six years in 2010, following a 6.5% slump in 2009 and a 1.4% reduction in 2008. Traffic increased by 18.6% in 2004 following a 9.9% slump in 2003. Traffic in 2010 exceeded the “relatively constrained” 4.1% capacity (ASKs) growth. This resulted in a 4.1ppt load factor improvement to 78.5%.

AAPA RPK growth and ASK growth: 2003 to 2010

Capacity growing faster than traffic for first time since Aug-2008

During Dec-2010, traffic (RPKs) increased 4.5%, although this was outpaced by a 6.6% capacity (ASKs) increase. Dec-2010 marks the first month since Aug-2008 that capacity has grown at a fastest pace than traffic. This traffic growth exceeded a 15.5% increase in capacity, resulting in a record international cargo load factor of 70.0% (+4.9 ppts).

AAPA RPK growth and ASK growth: Nov-2008 to Dec-2010

Load factors, however, declined in Dec-2010, for the first month of load factor contractions since Jul-2009.

AAPA PLF growth: Nov-2008 to Dec-2010

Strong rebound in air cargo demand

International air cargo demand rebounded strongly in 2010, increasing 24.2%, for the largest year of growth in recent years. The 2010 growth rate follows declines of 10% in 2009 and 7% in 2008. Monthly freight growth, however, moderated throughout 2010 to reach its lowest level of 2010 in Dec-2010.

AAPA FTK growth and FATK growth: 2003 to 2010

AAPA FTK growth and FATK growth: Nov-2008 to Dec-2010

In the full year, and despite a 15.4% capacity expansion, international cargo load factors reached a record high at 70.0%, a 4.9ppt load factor improvement.

AAPA Passenger load factor and freight load factor: 2003 to 2010

Outlook for 2011 remains ‘broadly positive’

Looking ahead, Mr Herdman said: “Given expectations of further sustained growth in traffic demand, the outlook for the new year remains broadly positive. Indeed, the prevailing shift of political influence and commercial dynamism towards Asia should result in players from the region playing an increasingly important role in shaping the future of the air transport industry.”


AAPA traffic highlights for Dec-2010



% Change

Passengers (000s)



Traffic (RPKs) (mill)



Capacity (ASKs) (mill)



Passenger load factor (%)



Cargo traffic (FTKs) (mill)



Freight capacity (FATKs)



Freight load factor (%)



AAPA traffic highlights for 2010



% Change

Passengers (000s)



Traffic (RPKs) (mill)



Capacity (ASKs) (mill)



Passenger load factor (%)


+4.1 ppts

Cargo traffic (FTKs) (mill)



Freight capacity (FATKs)



Freight load factor (%)


+4.9 ppts

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