May continues to look like a solid month for the air freight industry. When we looked earlier this month at the first May cargo results reported by some of the world’s major carriers we said the news, to that point, was generally positive. With results now in from most of the rest of the carriers and airports we regularly track, we see no reason to change that assessment.
The chart at right is updated with results from several more big players, including Hong Kong International Airport, Air China, China Southern Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Etihad Airways. With the exception of Air China, they all reported improved performance compared to the previous months of 2014.
We won’t repeat the full analysis of results reported earlier (you can read that here), but below are details for HKIA and the four carriers that have reported since then:
Hong Kong International Airport reported cargo volume in May up 8.3% y-o-y to 367,000 tonnes. Export volume was up 8.2% to 234,000 tonnes, while import volume was up 8.5% to 133,000 tonnes. For the first five months of 2014, HKIA’s handle was up 6.2% to 1.73 million tonnes. Commenting on the April results, HKIA said: “The growth in cargo throughput last month was driven mainly by transshipments, which was up 18% from a year ago. During the month, cargo throughput to/from Mainland China improved most significantly compared to other key regions.”
Beijing-based Air China reported May cargo traffic up slightly (0.2%) y-o-y to 460 million RTKs, a significant change from the last few months, in which the carrier consistently reported year-over-year increases of about 10%. International traffic in May was up 0.7% to 331 million RTKs while domestic traffic was down 2.0% to 119 million RTKs. For the year through May, Air China’s cargo traffic was up 9.2% to 2.11 billion RTKs.
Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines reported May cargo traffic up 25.3% y-o-y to 426 million RTKs, continuing a trend of strongly accelerating growth. International traffic was up 31.4% to 289 million RTKs, while domestic traffic was up 13.7% to 135 million RTKs. For the year through May, China Southern’s cargo traffic was up 14.0% to 1.91 billion RTKs.
Singapore Airlines almost, but not quite, reversed its two-and-a-half-year trend of declining cargo traffic, with a 0.1% y-o-y drop in May to 537 million RTKs. For the year through May, SIA’s cargo traffic was down 3.9% to 2.56 billion RTKs.
Etihad Airways reported its cargo volume up 30.7% y-o-y to 49,000 tonnes, continuing its pattern of exceptionally strong growth, and setting a new cargo record every month. And, at least through the first quarter of 2014, the volume gains have not come at the expense of yield, as Etihad reported cargo revenue for the quarter up on pace with volume. For the first five months of 2014, Etihad’s cargo volume was up 26.1% to 221,600 tonnes.