The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has reported a 23.3 per cent year-on-year growth in international air cargo demand in September – as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK).
The preliminary figures released this week by the trade association also showed a 14.8 per cent year-on-year increase in Asia Pacific airline’s offered freight capacity. The average international freight load factor for the month was 76.1 per cent.
AAPA said: “Amidst ongoing recovery in the global economy, strong customer and business sentiment continued to boost trade activity, benefitting air cargo markets. Prolonged congestion at major shipping ports and associated global supply chain disruptions have also led to businesses turning to air cargo to speed up deliveries.”
In contrast to air cargo market growth, the report revealed a further “weakness” in international air passenger demand.
The Asia Pacific region’s airlines carried a combined total of 1.2 million international passengers in September, representing 4.1 per cent of the 30 million recorded in the same month of 2019.
The international passenger load factor averaged 33 per cent, with available seat capacity 13.9 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
AAPA’s director general Subhas Menon said: “The severe weakness in international passenger numbers seen since the onset of the pandemic reflect the border restrictions enforced by governments across the region.
“Nevertheless, as vaccination rates increase, more governments are moving away from zero-Covid approaches towards a risk-managed approach in favour of relaxation of border restrictions for vaccinated travellers.
“For air passenger recovery to gain more substantial momentum, inconsistent health and border measures need to be replaced with harmonised or mutually-recognised protocols that will remove much complexity and confusion for the travelling public.
“We urge more governments to collaborate across borders in adopting an objective risk-based approach in line with WHO and ICAO guidelines to restore global air travel mobility.”