Traffic figures for May 2020 show air cargo demand, in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), fell by 19 per cent year-on-year, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).
While offered freight capacity decreased by 20.1 per cent for the month, the average international freight load factor rose just marginally, by 0.9 percentage points to 60.9 per cent.
This reflects the capacity crunch experienced in preceding months as a result of the sharp declines in belly-hold space on passenger aircraft, AAPA notes.
Meanwhile, the region’s airlines carried only 785,000 passengers in May, a 97.5 per cent decline compared to the same month last year. The slump in demand, combined with a 92.5 per cent fall in available seat capacity, led to a 50.4 percentage point decline in the average international passenger load factor to just 28.4 per cent for the month.
Commenting on the results, Subhas Menon, AAPA director general says: “The plunge in passenger demand in the month of May, and declines in air cargo volumes, underscore the immense challenges that airlines are facing.
“Overall, the region’s carriers transported more passengers and cargo compared to the previous month. But the prognosis for the industry as well as tourism and trade, remains grim.”
Looking ahead, Menon highlights recent consumer surveys indicating an increasingly cautious stance on air travel by consumers. As such he expects the return to normalcy will likely proceed slowly, reflecting the uncertainty in the outlook. Countries also “remain wary about lifting restrictions and continue to impose onerous conditions on travel”
Menon adds: “We are hopeful that governments will act quickly to coordinate measures based on objective risk assessments that safeguard the health and well-being of the travelling public, for recovery of aviation to begin in earnest. The recently announced Take-off guidance issued by the ICAO Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) provides a comprehensive set of measures which should be adopted consistently across States.”