(29 Jan 2021)
Preliminary full-year traffic results from the
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) highlight the collapse of international airline
operations in 2020 as a result of the ongoing global COVID19 pandemic.
The 69 million passengers carried by Asia Pacific
airlines in the year 2020 represents only 18% of volumes recorded
in 2019, an extent of decline in 12 months not seen in the
region’s history of commercial aviation.
Offered seat capacity was
similarly just 19% of the levels recorded in 2019, while the
international passenger load factor averaged 61%.
Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General, said,
“The dismal numbers underline the severity of the impact of the
pandemic on the airline industry. The discovery of several
effective vaccines towards the end of 2020 provided hope that
recovery was on the horizon as large scale vaccinations of their
people, will give governments the confidence to allow travellers
from abroad without restrictions’.”
In December 2020, air cargo demand improved
further in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), recording a single
digit year on-year decline of 6.4%.
For the calendar year,
international air cargo demand fell by 15.5%, whilst offered
freight capacity plunged by 24.4%. The average international
freight load factor rose significantly, by 7 percentage points to
66.4% in 2020, with cargo yields offering a welcome boost to
operating revenue, although airlines continued to face an
existential crisis with commercial passenger operations remaining
at a standstill.
“It will take time for the
roll-out of vaccinations across the world, as well as for the
pandemic to recede globally,” Mr. Menon added. “Looking ahead, many industry
challenges remain, as restrictions on cross border travel will
continue to affect air travel demand in 2021. We encourage
governments to step up coordination efforts on cross border risk
mitigation measures and health protocols. The implementation of harmonised protocols, incorporating the ICAO CART Take-Off
Guidance, is imperative for the safe resumption of travel. Asia
Pacific aviation is ready and willing to play its part in the
successful restart and recovery in the region.”