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Business trends

Asian airlines' cargo operations hit hard by US-China trade war

Carriers race to find new markets to offset weak demand from established routes

ANA’s cargo revenue dropped 17% in the April-June quarter. Due to overall weak demand, the company has had to lower shipping rates. (Picture by Akira Kodaka)

SINGAPORE -- Festering U.S.-China trade tensions and a slowing global economy have weighed heavily on the cargo operations of Asian airlines, prompting the region's carriers to rethink growth strategies.

Unlike shipping by sea, air delivery is used primarily for small and high-value goods such as electronics and fresh food, when speed is more important than volume. Cargo accounts for about 10% to 30% of total revenues of Asia's major airlines, supplementing their main passenger businesses.

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