BUSINESS

INTERNATIONAL PASSENGER TRAFFIC CARRIED BY ASIAN AIRLINES GREW 161 PCT IN 2023 - AAPA

31/01/2024 05:34 PM

SINGAPORE, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- The international passenger traffic carried by Asian airlines grew solidly by 161 per cent in 2023, said the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) director-general Subhas Menon.

AAPA released today its preliminary traffic figures for the full calendar year 2023.

“Passenger numbers averaged 72 per cent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels, up significantly from 28 per cent in 2022,” said Menon in a statement.

Whilst international air cargo demand declined by 2.8 per cent for the full year, Menon said the last quarter of 2023 saw an 8.2 per cent increase compared to the previous corresponding period. He added that overall, 2023 was a good year for the region’s carriers.

“Passenger demand grew unabated, while air cargo markets ended the year on a high note.

“The gradual restoration of flight frequencies and city-pair connections over the course of the year provided more options for travellers, further stimulating demand,” he said.

However, Menon said, as operations were progressively restored, airlines faced capacity constraints in addition to increased cost pressures driven by volatile fuel prices, a strong US dollar, and inflationary impacts on operations.

According to AAPA, for the year, the region’s airlines recorded a 161 per cent increase in the number of international passengers carried to a combined total of 278.5 million.

In revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, demand rose by 131 per cent, reflecting strength in short haul markets.

The increase in demand was supported by a 106.2 per cent expansion in available seat capacity for the year, as airlines restored flights within the region and across regions.

The international passenger load factor returned to pre-pandemic levels with an average of 80.9 per cent in 2023, an 8.7 percentage points increase compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, air cargo markets entered 2023 weighed by multiple headwinds, including inflation, a strong US dollar and government policy dampening trade activity as well as household spending power.

Nevertheless, the final months of the year saw demand grow strongly, led by an increase in e-commerce shipments.

In December, international air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) recorded a 13.2 per cent year-on-year growth, further reducing the decline recorded for the full year 2023 to 2.8 per cent.

Offered freight capacity rose by 6.4 per cent, resulting in a 5.8 percentage points decline in the average international freight load factor to 60.7 per cent for the year.

Looking ahead, Menon noted that 2024 promises to be another good year for Asian airlines. International passenger traffic is poised to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months, buoyed by the return of tourism and the resilient expansion of the region’s economies. “However, there remain some uncertainties, including the potential erosion in business and consumer sentiment amid rising geopolitical risks. Against this background, the region’s airlines remain vigilant to market influences while investing for future growth.”

-- BERNAMA


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