KUALA LUMPUR – Member carriers of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) remain under pressure, unsure whether signs of a fragile recovery in passenger volumes will prove to be sustainable, AAPA said.
Preliminary traffic data just released for October indicate that the recovery remains tentative. AAPA international passenger numbers reached 11.1 million in October, slightly higher than the previous month, but still three percent below the levels of October last year. With a 6.5-percent reduction in seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor was 2.8 percentage points higher at 75.6 percent for the month.
“This period has been one of the most difficult and challenging for airlines in the history of aviation. For the first 10 months of this year, AAPA international passenger numbers were down by 8.2 percent. Airlines have been aggressively cutting costs but revenues have fallen even more sharply. As a result, Asian airlines as a group are expected to record another year of heavy losses, on top of the USD4.8 billion of losses suffered in 2008,” Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said.
“In recent months, we have seen some tentative signs of a recovery in traffic volumes, but yields have been severely depressed. AAPA leaders have to steer a difficult course over the next year, both tightly managing costs and closely monitoring what still appears to be a fragile economic recovery. Airlines will also need to remain sharply focused on fuel prices, environmental commitments, and other regulatory challenges,” he added.