AAPA: Asia-Pacific Airline Traffic Rebounding

The region has been slow to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: AirAsia

The latest traffic statistics for Asia-Pacific airlines confirm that a significant rebound has been underway since travel restrictions have been progressively easing.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) reports that demand strengthened markedly in May. The “healthy increase in international passenger demand and corresponding recovery in load factors lends some cause for optimism,” AAPA DG Subhas Menon said.

Asia-Pacific airlines carried 7.3 million international passengers in May, more than five times the total from the same month in 2021. This lifted the May total to 23.6% of the pre-pandemic level of May 2019.

Average international load factor for these airlines rose by 43.7 percentage points year-over-year in May, to 71.5%.

The picture is not so bright on the cargo side, however. “After a buoyant 2021, air cargo demand is facing some headwinds with export orders facing downward pressures, driven by waning business confidence levels amid an increasingly cloudy global economic outlook,” Menon said.

International freight traffic for Asia-Pacific airlines dropped 5.6% year-over-year in May, with load factors also declining.

Challenges for airlines include rising fuel, labor and maintenance costs, as well as heavier debt burdens, Menon said. This means that “keeping a lid on costs remains vital.”

Menon also noted that airlines in general “face increasing operational constraints as the air transport ecosystem strives to keep up with the ramp-up in demand.”

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