AAPA: Strong passenger demand, weak cargo markets in June

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IATAPreliminary June 2023 traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed that the recovery in international passenger markets remains robust, as travel demand continued to grow despite inflationary pressures and the weakness in regional currencies.

Asia Pacific airlines carried 23.2 million international passengers in the month of June, representing a 159.3% year-on-year increase compared to the same month last year. In terms of revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), traffic surged by 131.1%, whilst seat capacity increased by 120.9%. As such, the international passenger load factor of 82.2% in June was 3.6 percentage points higher than the corresponding month in 2022. Overall passenger traffic averaged 72.5% of 2019 levels for the month, with demand climbing alongside the expansion in flight frequencies and route networks.

Meanwhile, global trade activity was muted with the ongoing declines in new export orders. The easing in container shipping rates relative to air freight rates further discouraged demand for air shipments. Against this background, air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), declined by 8.1% year-on-year in June. By comparison, offered capacity edged 0.7% higher, leading to a 5.9 percentage point fall in the average international freight load factor to 60.7% for the month.

Subhas Menon, director general of AAPA
Subhas Menon, director general of AAPA.

Commenting on the results Subhas Menon, AAPA director general said, “In the first half of the year, the number of international passengers carried by Asian airlines quadrupled to a combined total of 120 million, boosted by the upsurge in leisure and business travel demand, as the region’s economies emerge strongly from the pandemic. During the same period, the region’s carriers posted a 10% decline in air cargo demand. A myriad of factors, including a post-pandemic shift in spending from goods to services and higher merchandise prices, weighed on global air cargo markets.

“The outlook for air travel remains positive, buoyed by the ongoing restoration of flights and networks. The travel and tourism sector is rebounding strongly and contributing to the global economy. Asian airlines, together with other aviation stakeholders, are working together to ensure that air travellers have a smooth and safe travel experience over the upcoming peak summer holiday season.”

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