AWIN First Jun 23 , 2010
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines’ preliminary figures for May point to continued growth in passenger and freight traffic, leading carriers in the region to boost IT investment.
Calling this a “surprisingly robust regional economic upturn,” an AAPA statement says Asia-Pacific-based airlines carried 14.6 million international passengers in May, up 17.6% from the same month last year.
“For the first five months of the year, Asia-Pacific carriers reported a welcome 10.7% increase in international passenger traffic as both leisure and business travel demand picked up. International freight traffic also bounced back sharply, up 35.6% compared to last year’s slump,” Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said.
International revenue passenger kilometers grew 14.6%. With a 3.3% expansion in capacity, the average international passenger load factor rose 7.3 percentage points to 74.6%.
Strong demand for international air cargo shipments propelled a 39% jump in freight ton kilometers. International cargo load factors climbed 8.7 points to 72.6% despite a 22.2% uptick in capacity.
“Asia-Pacific airlines are responding quickly to meet the welcome upturn in demand, whilst carefully managing capacity and costs,” says Herdman.
Meanwhile, a growing optimism that the worst may be over for an industry that sustained record losses the past two years emerged from the latest SITA/Airline Business magazine IT Trends Survey.
“The stabilizing budgets and increasing business confidence translate into a change in spending behavior for airlines away from short-term tactical remedies needed in 2009 and a return towards long-term strategic thinking,“ says Paul Coby, SITA chairman.
Globally, 56% of the 129 responding airlines expect to spend more on IT spend next year, while only 10% anticipate a decrease, the survey says.
The push for higher spending is being led by Asian carriers; 75% of the responding carriers in this region expressed confidence that IT spending will go up further next year.
After year-on-year declines, overall airline IT budgets in 2010 have stabilized or shown a slight increase. The operating outlay this year totals an average 1.8% of revenue, while capital spending remains flat at 1.4%.
A significant number of small carriers were among the 45% that reported higher IT budgets this year, compared to 2009. At the same time, about 50% of the airlines with budget decreases were European.
The survey confirms a strong ambition among airlines to implement virtualization technologies, with the initial emphasis on IT infrastructure: 40% of airlines have created a virtual infrastructure environment, a number that is expected to rise to 85% by 2013.
Software and desktop virtualization are the next steps in this transition.