TAIWAN-BASED EVA Air and China Airlines reported year-on-year cargo declines, while China Southern and Air Chinareported mixed results in their traffic for the month of May. Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, saw a continued decline in its traffic this month.
EVA Air's cargo traffic, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) declined six per cent year over year for the month of May to 300 million FTKs. Load factors were down 5.8 per cent with a 1.1 per cent increase in available tonne kilometres (AFTKs) for May. Year-to-date, EVA's cargo traffic is down 7.6 per cent, and tonnage is down 8.5 per cent.
China Airlines saw an even steeper decline of 8.2 per cent year on year to 450 million FTKs. These results for May continue the carrier's four consecutive months of declines in traffic this year. Year-to-date, the carrier's FTKs have declined 9.7 per cent compared to the same period the year prior.
China Southern's traffic for May increased 1.1 per cent year on year to 650 million FTKs. Year-to-date, traffic is nearly flat (up 0.5 per cent) at 2.9 billion FTKs. Domestic traffic for the carrier was down 1.7 per cent year on year, while regional and international traffic increased 1.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively. Month-to-month, the carrier's total cargo handle increased 3.5 per cent from April, suggesting a slight rebound.
Beijing-based Air China's cargo traffic for May was 1.6 per cent lower than in May 2018 at 423 million FTKs. Overall tonnage declined 1.5 per cent to about 120,000 tonnes. For the first five months of 2019, traffic is down 1.4 per cent, and tonnage is 0.9 per cent lower than during the same period in 2018.
Singapore Airlines reported May cargo traffic down 3.2 per cent year on year to 573 million FTKs, while cargo tonnage declined by 3.1 per cent to just over 108,000 tonnes. Year-to-date, cargo traffic is down 6.2 per cent to 2.7 billion FTKs.
The weak air cargo market comes as no surprise, as air cargo operators and industry associations have warned of the impact protectionism and tariffs could have on global trade for some time now.
Air cargo may get a short-term boost with retailers turning to air freight to avoid congested ports ahead of the tariffs. In the long term, however, companies expect worsening economic sentiment to continue impacting global trade, which has led some leaders in air cargo to hold conservative outlooks on growth for the rest of 2019, reports New York's Air Cargo World.