KUALA LUMPUR, 29 June 2020: 
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavily on international air
passenger and cargo markets, with the travel and tourism sectors crippled by
widespread lockdowns and travel restrictions according to preliminary May 2020
traffic figures released Sunday by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

In aggregate, the region’s airlines carried only 785,000
passengers in May, a 97.5% decline compared to the same month last year. The
slump in demand, combined with a 92.5% fall in available seat capacity, led to
a 50.4 percentage point decline in the average international passenger load
factor to just 28.4% for the month.

Meanwhile, air cargo demand, as measured in freight
tonne-kilometres (FTK), fell by 19.0% year-on-year. With offered freight
capacity decreasing by 20.1% for the month, the average international freight
load factor rose just marginally, by 0.9 percentage points to 60.9%, reflecting
the capacity crunch experienced in preceding months as a result of the sharp declines
in belly-hold space on passenger aircraft.

Commenting on the results, AAPA director general Subhas
Menon said: “The plunge in passenger demand in 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 added, “With recent consumer
surveys indicating an increasingly cautious stance on air travel, the return to
normalcy will likely proceed slowly, reflecting the uncertainty in the outlook,
as States remain wary about lifting restrictions and continue to impose onerous
conditions on travel.”

Menon concluded, “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. CART anticipates
that flights will restart in phases, initially between States where containment
of the virus is apace, and public health capability, adequate. AAPA remains
committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to see the timely, safe
and convenient recommencement of air travel in the Asia Pacific region.”



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