Asia carriers’ growth to slow


SINGAPORE — Slower growth in the number of passengers carried by Asia-Pacific airlines was anticipated in a survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association and released Tuesday, indicating U.S. woes might be spreading.

The slower growth is a particular concern “since this is a region where travel demand is expected to continue to grow, even in the face of a U.S. recession,” the association said.

The quarterly survey of airline executives in March evaluated their business sentiment as oil and fuel prices reached record highs and as growth in the industry in the Asia-Pacific fell to 4.3 percent in March from the same month a year earlier, down from the 6.9 percent growth recorded at the same point in 2007.

Nearly three-quarters of the respondents expected higher passenger numbers in the next 12 months with Asia the key market, the association said. However, they added that a boost in demand in Asia through new capacity and new routes was “increasingly offset by a slowdown in the U.S. economy and increased competition on many routes.”

Half of the respondents said they were able to pass on some of their higher costs to customers during the first quarter.