KUALA LUMPUR, 29 July 2020: Preliminary June 2020 traffic
figures released Tuesday by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)
showed that widespread travel restrictions almost completely suppressed
international air travel during the second quarter of 2020.
Asian airlines carried just 724,000 international passengers
in June, a 98% decline compared to the 31.8 million recorded in the same month
last year. After accounting for a 93% decline in available seat capacity, the
average passenger load factor was 36.3% for the month.
Air cargo demand, in freight tonne-kilometre (FTK) terms,
was 20.3% lower year-on-year, as demand for exports continued to falter on the
back of economic weakness aggravated by disruptions to global supply chains.
Offered freight capacity fell by 27.2% as most passenger aircraft were
grounded, resulting in a 5.6 percentage point increase in the average
international freight load factor to 64.9% for the month.
Commenting on the results, AAPA director general Subhas Menon said: “Overall, Asia
Pacific airlines carried 61 million international passengers during the first
half of 2020, representing a 68% fall compared to the same period last
year. International travel demand
evaporated in the second quarter. Most flights were only operating to repatriate
people to their home countries. Meanwhile, air cargo demand declined by 16%
during the first half of the year, reflecting the general deterioration in
consumer and business confidence.”
Menon added, “The industry is in a perilous condition.
International flights continue to be grounded by border closures and onerous
quarantine requirements, even when domestic lockdowns are being eased.”
Looking ahead, Menon noted: “Together prospect of a
recovery in travel markets during the second half of the year is increasingly
uncertain, as governments grapple with a resurgence of local infections, with
the re-imposition of community lockdowns and further tightening of travel
restrictions. Uncoordinated measures between States, including blanket
quarantines by some, are making international air travel extremely difficult
even for those wishing to travel. Airlines in the Asia Pacific region are
rapidly depleting cash reserves and incurring massive losses. It is critical
for governments to recognise the debilitating impact of current policies and
work cooperatively to re-establish global connectivity whilst maintaining
appropriate measures to safeguard public health in line with guidance published
by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.”