AAPA: Healthy growth in passenger and cargo demand

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MRO DubaiPreliminary February 2024 traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed strong growth in both international air passenger and air cargo demand. Passenger markets were boosted by a surge in leisure travel during the Lunar New Year festive period, while air cargo demand grew as a result of business and e-commerce activity.

In aggregate, 27.0 million international passengers were carried by Asia Pacific airlines in February, a 56.7% increase from the 17.3 million recorded in the same month last year. Traffic reached 89.2% of 2019 levels. In revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, demand rose by 54.4% year-on-year, reflecting relative strength of regional routes. Available seat capacity expanded by 53.1%, leading to a marginal 0.7 percentage point increase in the average international passenger load factor to 81.6% for the month.

With inflation levels moderating, rising demand spurred renewed vigour in the global manufacturing sector, supporting further growth in air cargo markets. As a result, international air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), increased by 10.2% year-on-year in February. Offered freight capacity expanded by a robust 20.8%, primarily from growth in belly-hold space. Consequently, the average international freight load factor fell by 5.5 percentage points to 57.3% for the month.

Commenting on the results, Subhas Menon, AAPA director general said, “During the first two months of the year, Asian carriers saw continued robust growth in international passenger markets, with 54 million passengers carried, an increase of 53% compared with the corresponding period in the previous year. The strong demand came on the back of ongoing network expansion by carriers, with load factors at levels seen before the pandemic. The same period saw a 16% increase in international air cargo demand, progressing the recovery recorded since the last quarter of 2023. Healthy growth in e-commerce transactions fuelled a rise in demand for speedier air transport. Additionally, there were also indications of a modal shift from sea to air due to the Red Sea crisis.”

Looking ahead, Menon said, “The upturn in global economic activity and rise in business confidence levels augurs well for air cargo markets in the coming months. Correspondingly, the demand outlook for international travel is positive based on forward booking trends. The region’s carriers remain nimble and proactive in exploring new avenues of growth, whilst at the same time tackling numerous challenges including rising operational costs and stiff competition.”

AAPA to host Asia and Pacific turboprop safety conference
The AAPA also announced that it will host the Asia and Pacific Turboprop Safety Conference, on 26 and 27 June 2024 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AAPA has been actively working with the region’s turboprop operators since 2014, and has embarked on this initiative to support the region’s large number of regional turboprop operators, who operate crucial airline services to many cities and remote destinations.

AAPA has long identified the unique challenges faced by turboprop operators, particularly in the Asia and Pacific region. The upcoming conference aims to bring together industry stakeholders, including AAPA member airlines, other operators, and industry bodies, to exchange insights, best practices, and innovative solutions.

“The industry believes wholeheartedly that safety is paramount for the industry and no airline should be left behind,” said Menon. “The Asia and Pacific Turboprop Safety Conference underscores our commitment to promoting safety excellence across all segments of commercial aviation.”

The conference will feature a comprehensive agenda covering various aspects of turboprop operations, including emergency response, safety culture, flight data monitoring as well as unique airport and operational considerations. Attendees can expect engaging discussions, informative presentations, and opportunities for networking.


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