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Air travel in Asia-Pacific slumps in September

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[October 29, 2008]  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Asia-Pacific airlines are bracing for a rough ride over the next few months after recording a sharp drop in passenger and cargo traffic in September, an industry group said Wednesday.

An easing of global oil prices has brought relief to airlines but will not compensate for an expected revenue shortfall due to the global economic slowdown, said the Kuala Lumpur-based Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Restaurant"We have seen a sharp deterioration in the operating environment in the past few months," association director-general Andrew Herdman said in a statement.

"We are braced for a very rough ride over the next few months as the global economic slowdown begins to bite hard," he warned.

The association said its 17 member airlines flew 11 million passengers in September, a decline of 6.6 percent from the same month last year. Freight traffic fared even worse, falling 9 percent despite a reduction in capacity and even though this was normally the peak shipping season.

For the first nine months of the year, AAPA's passenger traffic grew by just 1.6 percent from a year ago while cargo traffic contracted 1.6 percent, it said.


Herdman said rapidly weakening consumer confidence would hurt airline travel in the region.

"Airlines will continue to take all possible steps to stay afloat, including reviewing capacity adjustments and making sure that fares remain competitive to attract incremental business," he said.

The association did not give any growth forecast for this year.

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The AAPA represents Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Dragonair, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.

As a group, the AAPA represents roughly one-fifth of global passenger traffic and one-third of global cargo traffic.

[Associated Press; By EILEEN NG]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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