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Freight traffic in the Asia-Pacific region continues to level off from its 2010 peak. Weakened markets in North America and Europe, coupled with the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, have led to lower-than-average cargo volumes in Asia-Pacific - a fact highlighted by Air China's third-quarter decline.
Air China, which reported a 1.63-percent drop in revenue freight-tonne kilometers from July to September, also saw a decline in cargo and mail load factor. Falling 1.95 percentage points from the third quarter of 2010, cargo and mail load factor totaled 59.8 percent during this period.
Air China Chairman Kong Dong said these numbers, combined with the gloomy economic outlook, have signaled difficultly for the carrier's freight operations. "The slowing down of global economic growth, high oil prices, tight aviation resources for flight slots and routes, and competition from high-speed railways have created immense pressure for the company."
Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Dragonair's September figures further validate Kong's remarks. The Chinese carriers, which experienced a combined 10.1 percent, year-over-year, decline in freight traffic, only transported 131,443 tonnes of freight and mail last month.
The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Director General Andrew Herdman blames the decreased tonnage in the Asia-Pacific on a number of factors. "A slowdown in export demand, as a result of ongoing the European economic crisis and softening North American economies, contributed to the fall in overall cargo traffic." he stated.
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