Asia Pacific Airlines Carried Just 1.5 Million Passengers in October 2020

(02 Dec 2020)
According to preliminary traffic figures from the
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), carriers in the
region carried 1.5
million international passengers in October 2020, just 4.9% of the 31.3
million that travelled in the same month last year.

Offered seat
capacity was comparatively higher but still represented just 12.7%
of October 2019 volumes, whilst the international passenger load
factor averaged 30% for the month, significantly below the levels
required for airlines to achieve positive cash flow.

Meanwhile, against a backdrop of further
improvements to overall business conditions globally,
international air cargo demand remained relatively firm, although
traffic as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) terms was
still 13% below last year’s level in October, held back by the
lack of passenger service bellyhold space.


Thai Airways aircraft parked at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) near Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Consequently, the
average international freight load factor climbed 9.7 percentage
points higher to 71.4% for the month.

AAPA Director General
Mr. Subhas Menon, said, “Prolonged border restrictions have led to
precipitous declines in air traffic and global connectivity, with
Asia Pacific alone suffering a 76% plunge. The dismal numbers
underscore the severity of the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on
the airline industry. Whilst government financial support lent
critical lifelines to some airlines, already a number of carriers
are being restructured, whilst others may not survive this
protracted crisis.

“The desire to travel remains strong, evidenced by
the marked recovery in domestic travel markets where movement
restrictions have been relaxed. Air transport is an enabler of
economic activity, and an indispensable conduit for global
transport, trade and tourism.

“AAPA calls on governments to
redouble their efforts to work cooperatively with other
governments and industry stakeholders to safely restart
international air travel. Governments must heed calls to adopt and
implement mutually agreed protocols. New ICAO guidance materials
developed in conjunction with WHO, CDC and ECDC, recommend
incorporating harmonised testing as part of a multi-layered and
risk-managed approach to facilitate international air transport.
As 2021 beckons, Asia Pacific aviation is ready and willing to
play its part in a successful restart and recovery. Airlines will
also play a critical role in ensuring that the global distribution
of COVID19 vaccines is accomplished in a timely and efficient
manner once the necessary regulatory approvals have been confirmed
and production can be scaled up accordingly.”

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