The number of international passengers continues to decline across Asia-Pacific

The number of international passengers continues to decline across Asia-Pacific

In the Asia-Pacific region, ongoing travel restrictions and border closures continue to wreak havoc on international airline travel. In June, the region’s airlines carried only 1.4 million international passengers, or 4.4% of the 32 million handled in the same month last year.

June’s results are slightly higher than May’s

The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA), based in Kuala Lumpur, has announced the region’s international traffic data for June. They showed a little improvement over May’s figures. In May, 1.3 million international passengers flew on the region’s airlines, a mere 4.3 percent of the total volume transported in the same month of 2019.

According to AAPA Director-General Subhas Menon, “the already severe situation has recently been worsened by new COVID-19 infections across the region due to the Delta variant.” “Permanent border restrictions are preventing any substantial recovery in international travel markets.”

The airline industry association speaks with a unified voice on behalf of 14 Asia-Pacific member airlines. Smaller airlines like Royal Brunei Airlines are among the members, as are conventional heavyweights like Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific is one of 14 AAPA member airlines. Photo: Jake Hardiman/Simple Flying

Passenger numbers are still significantly lower than in previous years

Some members have domestic networks to fall back on, while others don’t. They all have one thing in common: a lack of business on international routes throughout Asia-Pacific.

In June, Singapore Airlines carried 114,200 passengers. In June 2019, the airline, on the other hand, flew 1,883,000 passengers. Singapore Airlines had 17.2 percent passenger loads in June 2021, compared to 86.7 percent in June 2019.

In June, Japan Airlines carried 54,984 people on international routes, despite the fact that it does have a domestic network to help support its struggling foreign operations. In June 2019, the Tokyo-based airline transported 784,199 international passengers, including 501,591 passengers throughout Asia-Pacific.

Garuda Indonesia has only released traffic figures for the months of May and June. They, like Japan Airlines, have a substantial domestic network. Indonesia, like Japan, is dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. Garuda Indonesia’s foreign flights carried 8,121 passengers in May 2021.

Garuda Indonesia’s CEO, Irfan Setiaputra, informed staff in the same month that the airline needed to be completely reformed. He cautioned, “Failure to carry out the reorganisation programme could result in the company being terminated abruptly.”

The AAPA Director-General noted last week that “many Asian economies are confronting renewed hurdles in getting the pandemic under control and progressing vaccination roll-outs.” “The chances of Asian airlines recovering quickly remain bleak unless governments take coordinated efforts to speed vaccination rollouts and restore borders safely.”

The number of international passengers continues to decline across Asia-Pacific

Garuda Indonesia Airlines continues to teeter on the brink of collapse. Photo: Getty Images

Cargo continues to be a bright light for airlines in Asia-Pacific

Most airlines in the Asia-Pacific region continue to rely on cargo as a lifeline. Air freight services are in high demand in almost every location across the world.

According to airline data consultant OAG, “a number of factors have contributed to the robust air cargo demand.” Strengthening global economic activity, trade, and consumer expenditure, especially e-commerce, are among these causes.

A paucity of commercial flights in the Asia-Pacific area is also driving freight demand. Reduced commercial passenger flight schedules are causing supply chain disruptions, as the majority of the world’s air cargo typically travels in the belly holds of scheduled passenger flights.

According to the AAPA, cargo capacity increased by 11.7 percent year over year, resulting in an 8.2 percent increase in the average international freight load factor to 73.3 percent in June 2021.

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Cover Photo Credit: Vincenzo Pace/ Simple Flying