Banking on robust demand, Asia Pacific Airlines Association eyes growth and sustainability

NewsDrum Desk
09 Nov 2023
New Update

Singapore, Nov 9 (PTI) As the international air passenger traffic grew by 171 per cent in the first nine months of 2023, a top airline association on Thursday said it looked forward to celebrate growth of the industry and focus on sustainability.


Ahead of the 67th Assembly of Presidents of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) to be held here on Friday, the Association said, the number of international air passengers in Asia Pacific reached 79 per cent of 2019 levels in September 2023, behind other regions given that borders in Asia fully re-opened only six to 12 months after the rest of the world after the pandemic induced lockdowns across nations.

“Nevertheless, demand is robust, with international air passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) growing by 171 per cent in the first nine months of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022,” AAPA said.

Seat capacity measured in available seat kilometres increased by a comparatively slower 130 per cent in the first nine months of 2023, in part due to supply chain constraints affecting the timely delivery of new aircraft, and essential spares for maintenance. Load factors have already recovered to pre-pandemic levels and air fares remain high on the back of strong demand for air services in the region, it said.


“The demand for air travel is resilient in spite of the challenges in the global economy, as there is a distinct shift in spending from goods to services, including on air travel,” AAPA Director General Subhas Menon, who has more than three decades of experience in international aviation with the Singapore Airlines Group, told the media.

The shift to services and the re-opening of sea lanes for maritime trade has resulted in air cargo demand shrinking by 6 per cent in the nine months to September in 2023, compared to 2022.

In spite of this, air cargo demand in the region is expected to improve as the global economy stabilises, manufacturing output strengthens and inventories accumulated during past years are drawn down, Menon said.


“Cargo is a bellwether for the global economy while passenger demand reflects consumer spending habits which have shifted to services and tourism-related sectors instead of manufacturing.

“The robust growth in air travel demand will keep the industry on track to full recovery,” Menon said.

AAPA member carriers continue to see a strong recovery in air travel despite a dampened global economic climate resulting from unprecedented inflation, and aggressive monetary policies to reign it in. However, along with the growth and profitability, achieving sustainability goals is also critical to the future success of the international air transport sector and its continuing role as an agent for social and economic development, the AAPA said.

“Extreme weather events and record temperatures in 2023 nearing global warming thresholds set by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are a clarion call for all industry players, especially governments and fuel suppliers, to step up efforts on sustainability, and to ensure that aviation is able to achieve its net zero carbon emissions goal by 2050,” Menon said.

"The AAPA Assembly of Presidents looks forward to discussing how airlines can contribute to the full restoration of global connectivity as well as seamless, safe, and secure air transportation, as they embrace the region’s potential to return to sustainable air transport growth in 2024,” he said. PTI GS NPK NPK NPK