Kuala Lumpur. Asia-Pacific airlines suffered a 5.7 percent drop in passenger numbers and an 11 percent slump in cargo traffic last year as they weathered their worst-ever downturn, an industry body said on Friday.
The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said the collapse in corporate travel and intense competition during the global recession saw airline revenues tumble by between 20 percent and 25 percent.
“We have been through downturns before, but none as severe as we’ve experienced in the past two years,” AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said in a statement.
Airlines cut flights and cargo capacity and trimmed costs but were still not able to fully offset the effects of sharply lower revenues, compounded by continuing volatility in oil prices.
“Overall, Asia-Pacific airlines are expected to report significant losses for 2009, following similar heavy losses suffered in 2008,” he said, while adding that traffic numbers in recent months had shown signs of recovery.
“The cargo business is regaining some of its dynamism and passenger demand on short-haul leisure routes has already picked up, although business travel demand is recovering more slowly,” Herdman added.