Air cargo demand in Asia slumped 23.6 per cent in January while passenger numbers dropped 7.8 per cent, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said.
"The collapse in world trade is having a severe impact on airfreight demand, forcing airlines to temporarily ground a number of dedicated freighter aircraft," association director general Andrew Herdman said in a statement.
"Passenger travel demand is also weak, with premium traffic particularly hard hit as businesses seek to cut costs in response to the global economic downturn." The association said that the number of international passengers carried by its member airlines dropped 7.8 per cent to 11.4 million in January 2009 compared to a year ago.
Average passenger load was down nearly five percentage points to 73.9 percent. In the cargo sector, there was a 23.6 per cent decline in international freight tonne kilometres in January compared to the same period a year ago, it said.
Meanwhile, budget carrier AirAsia says it posted its second straight quarterly loss of 176.9 million ringgit (Dh175m or $47.7m) between October and December, leading to a full-year loss of 471.7 million ringgit in 2008 financial year.
The firm said the loss was due to an unwinding of AirAsia's fuel hedges and interest rate swaps related to aircraft loans.
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