Asia Pacific airlines report “vigorous” airfreight growth

By Damian Brett

Image: Shutterstock

Asia Pacific airlines saw “vigorous” airfreight growth in October due to a “robust” cargo market while passenger traffic remained at low levels.

Preliminary October 2021 traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) saw international air passenger demand remain significantly depressed, with the impact from the recent easing of border restrictions was yet to be seen.

By contrast, said AAPA, air cargo markets were “robust, benefitting from sustained global demand and capacity shortages”.

In aggregate, only 1.2m international passengers travelled on the region’s carriers in October, 3.9% of the 31m passengers recorded in the same month of 2019.

In the same period, Asia Pacific airlines recorded “another month of vigorous growth in international air cargo demand, as reflected in the 22.3% year-on-year increase in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms.”

AAPA said that offered freight capacity expanded by a “significant 20% year-on-year, albeit at a relatively slower pace than the growth in demand, leading to an elevated average international freight load factor of 74.2% for the month”.

AAPA director general Subhas Menon said: “Whilst October continued to be an extremely challenging month for international travel markets, solid orders for consumer goods and industrial components buoyed air cargo demand, especially as retailers sought to increase stock levels ahead of the year-end holiday season and major shopping events.

“In addition, supply chain congestion at some shipping hubs boosted demand for air shipments.”

Menon continued: “While the gradual reopening of borders by governments is a welcome move, what is sorely needed is the harmonisation of travel policies and health protocols, including measures related to testing, vaccination recognition and digital verification.

“This will reduce complexity and confusion amongst passengers and carriers, which will in turn help boost confidence in the travel process.”

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