EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) and China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 華航) on Monday reported cargo business continued to decline last month amid the US-China trade dispute and said the situation might persist through the end of this year.
EVA’s cargo revenue fell 12.27 percent annually for the sixth consecutive month of decline, the third-largest drop this year after June’s 20.83 percent and July’s 17.03 percent, its data showed.
Cargo volume declined 1.91 percent from a year earlier, continuing the slide that began in January, although last month’s fall was less than the double-digit percentages reported earlier this year.
In the first nine months of the year, EVA’s cumulative cargo revenue and cargo volume decreased 7.32 percent and 9.03 percent respectively, and the airline attributed the sluggish performance to weak exports and trade tensions.
Cargo revenue accounted for 22.7 percent of its total revenue, it said.
“Due to weaker demand, our clients did not rush to ship products to their clients with high inventory, so most of them chose cargo shipping services instead,” EVA spokesman David Chen (陳耀銘) said.
The cargo business is expected to rebound this month and next ahead of the high-sales Christmas season, but was unlikely to be as good as last year, Chen said.
Passenger revenue gained 0.67 percent last month and showed a mild annual growth of 0.57 percent in the first nine months.
Overall, the airline reported a 0.82 percent decline in total revenue for the first nine months to NT$133.7 billion (US$4.4 billion).
CAL, which operates 18 freighters compared with EVA’s five, saw its total revenue dip 0.05 percent to NT$126.29 billion for the first nine months.
The carrier's cargo revenue reported a 19.9 percent plunge from a year earlier to NT$3.57 billion and led its cumulative cargo revenue for the first nine months to drop 9.3 percent, offsetting the 2.6 percent year-on-year growth in its passenger revenue over the same period, company data showed.
“It is a tough year for the air cargo industry, due to oversupply,” CAL said in a statement.
It said it is conservative about this quarter given the trade tensions, and neither freight prices nor volume are expected to recover.
However, it aims to focus on those clients that are forecasting to export more ahead of next month’s Double 11 e-commerce sales event, by offering charter freight services.
Given the China’s travel ban on individual tourists visiting Taiwan, CAL said it would reduce the number of flights to second-tier Chinese cities, but maintain the number of flights to big cities, as there are still many business travelers, CAL spokesman Jason Liu (劉朝洋) said yesterday.
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