AviationAlthough air passengers and flight capacity have risen in Asia Pacific in 2022, slowing global economy pressures the sector.

Flight capacity builds back amid turbulence

|
The pent-up travel demand is driving up capacity for APAC airlines despite surmounting economic headwinds.
The pent-up travel demand is driving up capacity for APAC airlines despite surmounting economic headwinds. Photo Credit: Adobe/stnazkul

Although air passengers and flight capacity have risen in Asia Pacific in 2022, slowing global economy pressures the sector.

Asia Pacific airlines posted a five-fold increase in international passenger numbers at 62 million in the first nine months of this year compared to the corresponding period in 2021, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) stated.

Capacity also expanded 125% in the period, with international passenger load rising 40 percentage points to average 70%, on the back cross-border recovery as regional carriers add flights stimulated by pent-up travel desire and savings.

That said, the air cargo market, often an indicator of the state of the global economy, saw demand (measured in international freight tonne kilometres) fall by 4.4% between January and September this year as export orders dropped and supply chain problems mounted.

“The macro-economic outlook has weakened, with rising inflation in many countries, stubbornly high energy prices and a strengthening US dollar,” AAPA said in a statement during its 66th Assembly of Presidents in Bangkok.

While lessons were learnt from managing the pandemic, the industry is bracing to navigate the multiple headwinds in the offing due to a moderation in the outlook for the global economy. “Overall, airline margins remain under pressure,” it read.

On this basis, regional airline recovery is expected at only 75% of 2019 levels by the end of 2022, indicating a persisting lag behind the rest of the world, Subhas Menon, director-general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), said.

“Except for mainland China, the gradual reopening of borders in many economies in Asia and strong recovery in air services only serve to underscore the magnitude of pent-up travel demand,” Menon observed.

Meanwhile, as air travel gradually recovers, the airline industry is taking extra care to maintain its outstanding safety record.

“Airlines continue to actively invest in recruitment and training to address additional manpower needs as air travel demand is expected to see healthy growth in the coming year,” Menon added.

On sustainability goals, airlines remain committed. “Government support in the form of policy, investment and subsidies, particularly for sustainable aviation fuels and carbon offsetting and reduction scheme in aviation, will be key to the industry achieving its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

“Stakeholders, including fuel suppliers, whose investment and commitment to support the energy transition, will need to work closely together in order to achieve this ambitious goal,” he said.

Going forward, air travel in Asia Pacific in 2023 remains positive, he said, although it would experience some “significant” downside risks, including ongoing geo-political tensions which could undermine recovery.

“Despite the softening of the global economic outlook, Asia Pacific airlines are well-placed to see traffic volumes recover closer to pre-pandemic levels if demand continues to stay strong,” he shared.

Welcome to PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore

Eco-friendly practices and innovations, thoughtfully integrated at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore, provide sustainable travel experiences for everyone.

Read Now

Up, Up and Sail Away Into Opportunities
July - September 2022 eBook

As ports of calls resume in Southeast Asia, it’s time for travel agents to take advantage of the sea of opportunities in cruising and grow their business.

Read Now



JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI