(29 Apr 2021)
Preliminary traffic figures from the Association of
Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show that international passenger
markets remained weak in March 2021.
Only 1.1 million international passengers flew on
the region’s carriers in March, equivalent to 13.2% of passenger
volumes in the same month last year when travel was already in
Available seat capacity averaged 27% of the
previous year’s volumes, as the majority of the region’s
commercial passenger fleets remained grounded. The international
passenger load factor fell by 29.4 percentage points to average
23.8% for the month.
In contrast to the travel and tourism sectors,
overall rising business confidence and e-commerce growth fuelled
air cargo demand, with congestion at shipping ports spurring a
shift to the speedier transportation of goods by air.
As a result, international air cargo demand, as
measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), grew by 16.1%
year-on-year in the month of March, which has been the best
performing month since December 2019.
Offered freight capacity
rose by a comparatively slower 12.7% year-on-year, leading to a
2.2 percentage point increase in the average international freight
load factor to 74.3% for the month.
“The recent commencement of
travel between Australia and New Zealand is certainly a welcome
step. In addition, quarantine-free travel between
Hong Kong, announced for end May, with talks of more travel
bubbles in the pipeline, provide hope for a gradual restart of
international air travel this year,” said Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA
Director General. “It is apparent that we will need to learn to live
with COVID19. As such, it is imperative that governments across
the world embrace harmonised risk-based measures that safely
reopen air travel. This includes
digitalisation of travel health
certificates, as well as the implementation of contactless and
seamless travel measures in accordance with ICAO and WHO
guidelines, to support travel recovery. The association remains
committed in working closely with governments to aid the
resumption of air travel in a smart, safe and sustainable way.”
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