Asia Pacific international passenger air traffic hit a growth rate of 8.2 per cent during September, a report by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has said. A total of 18 million international passengers were carried during the month, against a 6.3 per cent growth in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK). Available seat capacity was up 5.2 per cent, leading to a 0.8 percentage point increase in the average load factor to 78.4 per cent for the month. However, AAPA added that international cargo traffic was down 2.1 per cent during September. Available freight capacity increased by 0.8 per cent, leading to a 1.9 percentage point contraction in the average international freight load factor, to 64.8 per cent for the month. Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said: “Asian carriers experienced a 1.7 per cent decline in international air cargo demand during the first three quarters of the year, with soft global trading conditions affecting exports from regional manufacturing centres. Air cargo volumes appear to have stabilised over the past few months but rates remain under pressure due to an overhang of excess freighter capacity. Whilst the continued steady growth in passenger demand is very encouraging, Asian airlines are still facing a challenging operating environment, marked by competitive pressures on yields and margins."