Prolonged port congestion continues air cargo windfall

port congestion
Port congestion is building in China and on the West Coast of North America. Image courtesy of MarineTraffic.
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Prolonged congestion at major shipping ports and associated global supply chain disruptions have benefited Asia Pacific carriers, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

The ongoing recovery in the global economy, strong consumer and business sentiment continued to boost trade activity which is benefitting air cargo markets. With the disruption to global supply chains, businesses are increasingly turning to air cargo to speed up deliveries ahead of the peak shopping period.

As a result, Asia Pacific airlines saw a 23.3 per cent year-on-year growth in international air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) in September. Offered freight capacity recorded a relatively slower 14.8 per cent year-on-year increase, driving the average international freight load factor to 76.1 per cent for the month.

The AAPA figures revealed yet another month of severe weakness in international air passenger demand, however. For the month, the region’s airlines carried a combined total of 1.2 million international passengers, 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, whilst available seat capacity was 13.9 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Subhas Menon, AAPA director general said: “The severe weakness in international passenger numbers seen since the onset of the pandemic reflects 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. This is a welcome step towards the recovery of air travel. The encouraging increase in ticket bookings in markets where barriers to travel have been lowered also reflects strong travel confidence,” Menon added.


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