ASIA PACIFIC. The number of international passengers on Asia Pacific airlines fell by -0.1% to 17.5 million in January 2013, a marginal decline owing to Chinese New Year falling in February this year compared to January last year.

Preliminary traffic figures for the month released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) also reveal that international passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres terms grew by +0.5%.

Coupled with a +1.0% increase in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor declined by -0.3 percentage points to 78.0% for the month.

AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said: “Comparisons with last year are somewhat distorted by the difference in timing of the Chinese New Year holidays. We will have to wait for the February traffic data to get a better sense of the underlying trends for demand.

“In line with the projected growth in the global economy, the outlook for passenger travel remains positive, underpinned by sustained growth in the Asian markets and other developing economies. Hopefully we could also see some signs of recovery in the air cargo market this year, but even so, cargo rates are likely to remain depressed due to considerable excess capacity in the industry.”