Asia Pacific Airlines traffic results – March 2024

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Preliminary March 2024 traffic figures released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed the continuation of robust growth in both international air passenger and air cargo demand, which is in line with a steady expansion in global economic activity.

Reflecting positive business and consumer sentiment, the region’s carriers carried a combined total of 28.2 million international passengers in March, a 37.5% increase from the 20.5 million recorded in the same month last year.

Traffic averaged 86.8% of 2019 volumes. As measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), demand rose by 38.6% year-on-year, with available seat capacity increasing in equal measure.

As a result, the international passenger load factor at 82.0%, remained unchanged from the previous corresponding month.

In March, manufacturing orders ramped up, driving an uptick in trade activity. The rise in exports, in part propelled by the dynamic e-commerce sector, bolstered air cargo markets.

This led to a strong 15.3% year-on-year increase in international air cargo demand in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) for the month.

The average international air freight load factor edged 0.5 percentage points lower to 62.7% in March, after accounting for a 16.2% expansion in offered freight capacity.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General said, “March saw another healthy expansion in both passenger and cargo markets, culminating in a strong first quarter performance for 2024.

“For the three-month period, Asian airlines registered a 47% year-on-year increase in the number of passengers carried, fuelled by a surge in demand for both leisure and business travel.

“Additionally, international air cargo traffic witnessed a solid 16% year-on-year increase during the same period, signalling that the full recovery of the Asia Pacific airline industry is well within sight.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Menon said, “The potential alleviation of interest rates and inflationary pressures are expected to stimulate spending, thereby driving further growth in air travel and cargo markets in the upcoming months.

“However, the airline operating environment is challenging today, marked by international conflicts, extreme weather events and supply chain issues, that increase cost pressures on carriers due to re-routings, flight diversions and disruptions.

“Nevertheless, the Asia Pacific airline industry is growing steadily, steadfastly focused on enhancing air connectivity and the travel experience of their customers.”