Preliminary August 2020 traffic figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show that international passenger demand stayed severely depressed as a result of ongoing border restrictions, with little indication of recovery in sight for the remainder of the year.
Asia Pacific airlines carried only one million international passengers in August, or just three per cent of the 34 million passengers carried in the same month of 2019. Offered seat capacity was relatively higher at 9.6 per cent of the levels operated last year, whilst the average international passenger load factor was 35.8 per cent for the month.
International air cargo demand in August, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), registered a 19.3 per cent decline year-on-year, reflecting the ongoing weakness of global trade flows.
Freighter operations remained active but significant cuts in the numbers of passenger flights led to a 33.4 per cent year-on-year overall decline in offered freight capacity. As a result, the average international freight load factor increased by 12.3 percentage points to 70.6 per cent for the month.
Subhas Menon, Director General, AAPA, said, “There is no international air travel market to speak of, as the border restrictions severely inhibit international air travel. Abrupt re-impositions of border closures by some countries due to a resurgence in COVID19 cases have further shrunk passenger demand. Travellers, airlines and airports are struggling to make sense of the patchy, sweeping and unharmonized approaches to border regulations being imposed by various countries.”
He further said, “AAPA calls for an urgent review of border closures and blanket quarantine requirements, particularly for travel between countries where the prevalence of the virus is low and contained. A more coherent and evidence-based approach to cross border measures and processes, including testing and quarantine, would pave the way to restore global mobility in a safe and sensible way. The Association remains committed to working with governments and industry stakeholders to safely reopen international travel corridors in line with evolving ICAO CART recommendations.”