KUALA LUMPUR, 30 July 2021: International passenger traffic
remains suppressed due to ongoing stringent border restrictions, the
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines reports in its preliminary June 2021
traffic figures released Thursday.
Across the Asia Pacific region, many countries recorded a
surge in COVID-19 transmissions caused by new variants, with limited vaccine
supplies hampering vaccination progress.
The region’s airlines carried only 1.4 million international
passengers in June, just 4.4% of the 32 million carried in the corresponding
month in 2019. With available seat capacity at 12.9% of pre-pandemic levels,
the average international passenger load factor of 31% recorded in June was a
51 percentage point drop from that of the corresponding month in 2019, underscoring
the significant challenges faced by airlines in the passenger segment, which
normally accounts for a significant portion of total airline revenue.
Meanwhile, air cargo markets remained resilient, supported
by improved business confidence in the advanced economies, in particular, the
US and Europe. Accordingly, international air cargo demand as measured in
freight tonne-kilometres (FTK) grew by 25.7% year-on-year, with volumes
matching the same month in 2019. Offered freight capacity saw an 11.7%
year-on-year increase, leading to an 8.2 percentage point jump in the average
international freight load factor to 73.3% for the month.
AAPA director-general Subhas Menon said: “The already
dire situation has recently been compounded by new COVID-19 infections across
the region due to the Delta variant, with ongoing border restrictions holding
back any meaningful restart in international travel markets. Air cargo traffic
growth, supported by strong demand for both intermediate and consumer goods
from the major advanced economies, remains the saving grace.”
Menon added, “Many Asian economies are facing renewed
challenges in bringing the pandemic under control and in progressing
vaccination roll-outs. Prospects for an early recovery for Asian airlines are dim
unless governments take cohesive action
to accelerate vaccination roll-outs and reopen borders safely based on ICAO and