Asia Pacific Airlines Carried 33.8 Million Int. Passengers in January 2020

Preliminary traffic figures from the Association
of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show that international air
passenger markets remained busy in January 2020, with demand
supported by travel ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations, even
as the COVID19 outbreak in China began to spread.

International air cargo volumes in January
were soft, in part due to the closure of factories in Asia for the
holiday season.

Overall, 33.8 million international passengers
were carried by the region’s airlines, representing a 2.7%
increase compared to the same month last year. In revenue
passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, demand grew by 3.3% whilst
available seat capacity expanded by 4.2%, leading to a 0.7
percentage point fall in the average international passenger load
factor to 81.7% for the month.


Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner reg: VN-A864 landing at London Heathrow on 26 February 2020. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Meanwhile, international
air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK)
fell by 4.0% year-on-year in January, whereas offered freight
capacity grew by 2.7%. As a result, the average international
freight load factor declined by 3.7 percentage points to 53.0% for
the month.

Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “The year started on a
positive note, with further growth in demand for air travel
recorded in January. However, the renewed optimism
was short-lived, as we are now in uncharted territory with the
COVID-19 outbreak having had a very significant economic and
social impact, leading to sharp falls in China-related traffic and
wider effects on Asia Pacific travel and tourism markets, as well
as severely disrupting global manufacturing supply chains. Airlines have responded to the sharp
falls in demand by reducing the number of flights operated across
route networks whilst striving to maintain international
connectivity. The proliferation of uncoordinated travel advisories
and border restrictions imposed by governments, whilst
well-intentioned, are inconsistent with WHO recommendations and
International Health Regulations, and only serve to amplify public
concern.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Herdman said, “Overall, airlines continue to monitor
developments closely, whilst taking appropriate measures to ensure
the safety and well-being of passengers and staff members. From a
business perspective, the impact of reduced demand is expected to
lead to billions of dollars in lost revenue, mainly suffered by
Chinese carriers and other Asia Pacific airlines. Airlines are
therefore focusing closely on making associated cost reductions
and conserving cash resources in order to survive the current
downturn, whilst remaining ready to respond positively as and when
the situation shows signs of improvement.”

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