When we looked at the April results from big cargo carriers, airports, and handlers last week, our sense was that while year-over-year growth in demand for air freight would probably be a little higher than the 1.7% IATA reported for March, it would not be by much.
This week brings reports from two big Chinese carriers – Cathay Pacific and Air China – and the news is surprisingly good.
- Cathay Pacific Airways reported April cargo traffic up 7.9 % y-o-y to 979 million RTKs. For the first four months of 2018, Cathay’s cargo traffic was up 7.7% to 3.84 billion RTKs. Discussing the results, Cathay’s Director Commercial and Cargo Ronald Lam said: “The positive momentum in our cargo business continued into April. Tonnage grew ahead of capacity while yield strengthened. After a slight slow-down in our Hong Kong and mainland China markets early in the month, volumes started to pick up again during the month and network flow from the Americas, Europe, India, Japan and Southeast Asia continued to show strength.”
- Beijing-based Air China reported April cargo traffic up 9.2% y-o-y, to 677 million RTKs – the strongest April demand growth so far reported by any major Asian carrier or airport. International traffic for the month was up 12.9% to 532 million RTKs, while domestic traffic declined 2.4% to 136 million RTKs. For the year to date through April, Air China reported 10.4% increase in cargo traffic to 2.48 billion RTKs.
Of course, good results for two carriers will not make a huge change in worldwide demand growth, but it does make the overall April results picture a little brighter.