According to preliminary June 2020 traffic figures
from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), widespread
travel restrictions almost completely suppressed international air
travel during the second quarter of 2020.
Airlines in Asia Pacific carried just 724,000
international passengers in June, a 98% decline when compared to
the 31.8 million recorded in the same month last year. After
accounting for a 93% decline in available seat capacity, the
average passenger load factor was 36.3% for the month.
Air cargo demand, in freight tonne kilometre (FTK)
terms, was 20.3% lower year-on-year, as demand for exports
continued to falter on the back of economic weakness aggravated by
disruptions to global supply chains. Offered freight capacity fell
by 27.2% as most passenger aircraft were grounded, resulting in a
5.6 percentage point increase in the average international freight
load factor to 64.9% for the month.
"Overall, Asia Pacific airlines carried a
total of 61 million international passengers during the first half
of 2020, representing a 68% fall compared to the same period last
year. International travel demand evaporated in the second
quarter. Most flights were only operating to repatriate people to
their home countries. Meanwhile, air cargo demand declined by 16%
during the first half of the year, reflecting the general
deterioration in consumer and business confidence," said Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA
Director General. "The industry is in a perilous condition.
International flights continue to be grounded by border closures
and onerous quarantine requirements, even when domestic lockdowns
are being eased."
Looking ahead, Mr. Menon said, "The
prospect of a recovery in travel markets during the second half of
the year is increasingly uncertain, as governments grapple with a
resurgence of local infections, with the re-imposition of
community lockdowns and further tightening of travel restrictions.
Uncoordinated measures between States, including blanket
quarantines by some, are making international air travel extremely
difficult even for those wishing to travel. Airlines in the Asia
Pacific region are rapidly depleting cash reserves and incurring
massive losses. It is critical for governments to recognise the
debilitating impact of current policies and work cooperatively to
re-establish global connectivity whilst maintaining appropriate
measures to safeguard public health in line with guidance
published by the International Civil Aviation Organisation."
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