AAPA on April’s airfreight demand decline

By Rachelle Harry

In its preliminary traffic figures for April 2020, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) revealed that airfreight markets “remained active but were affected by weakening demand”.

Last month, Asia and Asia Pacific based airlines saw air cargo demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), decline by 28.3% year on year.

Factors such as the coronavirus outbreak and disruptions to global supply chains played a role in the decrease of air cargo demand.

Significantly reduced passenger services following the coronavirus outbreak negatively impacted air cargo capacity.

In light of this, the AAPA noted that “although partly mitigated by additional freighter operations and the deployment of cargo-only passenger [aircraft] flights, freight capacity fell by 38.3%”.

This in turn led to a 9.4 percentage point increase in the average international freight load factor to 67.5% during April.

Commenting on the results, Subhas Menon, director general of the AAPA, said: “Uncertainty remains as to how long the crisis will persist. Nevertheless, with infection curves showing signs of flattening, it is hoped that conditions are beginning to bottom out.”

Remaining positive, he continued: “Whilst severe travel restrictions continue to limit the early restart of aviation activity, there are some encouraging signs in the market.

“A number of airlines have begun restoring domestic flights, whilst a small number of international flights are still being operated, with plans to operate additional services as border restrictions are progressively relaxed.”

Menon added: “The progressive resumption of international air services will only be possible if a globally harmonised, outcome-based mitigation framework is adopted across countries.

“We welcome ICAO’s leadership in setting up its COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) to recommend strategic priorities and policies for States and industry operators.

Looking to the future of the aviation sector, Menon concluded: “Asia Pacific airlines remain committed to working closely with governments and relevant international bodies towards a timely restoration of air services, and supporting the revival of trade, tourism, economic and social activity.”

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