Airlines declare strong April traffic

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 May 2024: April delivered strong demand for international passenger travel, with both business and leisure markets continuing to enjoy robust growth according to preliminary traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines this week.

Overall, 28 million international passengers flew with the region’s carriers in April, representing a 32% increase compared to the same month last year. Traffic averaged 87.3% of 2019 volumes. Demand in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) rose by 33.7% year-on-year, showing growth notably on longer haul routes. Available seat capacity grew by 30.4%, leading to a 2.1 percentage point increase in the average international passenger load factor to 81.6%.

Higher demand for consumer and intermediate goods contributed to the ongoing positive momentum in air cargo markets. For the region’s carriers, international air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), recorded a 13.7% year-on-year growth in April, while offered freight capacity expanded by 14.4%. This led to a marginal 0.4 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 59.9%.

Commenting on the results, AAPA Director General Subhas Menon said: “Improving economic sentiment, coupled with high demand on major routes connecting Asia and other regions, including Europe and Southwest Pacific, drove growth in long haul travel markets, while travel demand within the region remained buoyant, underpinned by the easing of visa policies and resilient expansion in the region’s economies. Overall, the number of international passengers carried rose by 51% to 117 million for the year’s first four months.”

Menon added: “During the same period, Asia Pacific airlines also posted an encouraging 15% year-on-year increase in air cargo traffic volumes, with the pick-up in global demand supporting export activity from major manufacturing hubs located in the region, in particular, China.”

Looking to the future, he expressed optimism that positive business and consumer confidence levels were likely to fuel further growth in air passenger and cargo markets in the coming months. However, he also acknowledged the challenges linked to supply chain constraints and higher operating costs. 

Geopolitical tensions were also identified as a potential threat to the industry’s outlook. In response, the region’s carriers are committed to improving operational efficiency, maintaining safety standards, and pursuing sustainable growth.


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