Saturday, May 23, 2009

Aviation industry bracing for hard times as air travel, cargo dips

Kuala Lumpur - The aviation industry needs to continue preparing for difficult times as international passenger volume and demand for air cargo slumped in April, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said Thursday. Asia-Pacific airlines carried a total of 11.1 million passengers in April, a drop of 100,000 passengers from the month before and a dip of 5.8 per cent from April 2008.

Air cargo volumes continue to be depressed, registering a drop of 21.9 per cent year-on-year, the statement said.

From January to April, total international air cargo traffic dipped 24 per cent compared to the same period last year, said the association's director-general Andrew Herdman.

"Business conditions for airlines remain extremely difficult," Herdman said.

However, he said there were "tentative" signs that the worst of the crisis may be over, saying the April figures, though low, were less drastic than the first three months of the year.

"Nevertheless, the outlook for the remainder of the year is one of continued challenges," he said.

April's figures continue to reflect a downtrend in demand in air passenger and cargo volume from last year, when AAPA's 17-member airlines recorded 141.5 million passengers, a 1.8-per-cent drop from the year before, and a 6.1-per-cent dip in air cargo.

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