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Asia Pacific Airlines Traffic Results 2023: Robust growth in international passenger demand

In 2023, Asia Pacific airlines saw a 161% surge in international passengers, reaching 278.5 million. This growth, fueled by lifted pandemic restrictions, brought passenger load to 80.9%, nearing pre-pandemic levels, despite challenges like volatile fuel prices and inflation.

Preliminary traffic figures for the full calendar year 2023 released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed robust growth in international passenger demand, underpinned by a strong appetite for travel following the removal of the region’s remaining pandemic-related travel restrictions.

For the year, the region’s airlines recorded a 161.0% increase in the number of international passengers carried to a combined total of 278.5 million. In revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, demand rose by 131.0%, reflecting strength in short-haul markets. The increase in demand was supported by a 106.2% expansion in available seat capacity for the year, as airlines restored flights within and across regions. The international passenger load factor returned to pre-pandemic levels with an average of 80.9% in 2023, an 8.7 percentage point increase compared to 2022.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General said, “International passenger traffic carried by Asian airlines grew solidly by 161% in 2023. Passenger numbers averaged 72% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels, up significantly from 28% in 2022.”

Mr. Menon added, “Overall, 2023 was a good year for the region’s carriers. Passenger demand grew unabated. The gradual restoration of flight frequencies and city-pair connections over the year provided more options for travelers, further stimulating demand. However, as operations were progressively restored, airlines faced capacity constraints and increased cost pressures driven by volatile fuel prices, a strong US Dollar and inflationary impacts on operations.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Menon noted, “2024 promises to be another good year for Asian airlines. International passenger traffic is poised to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months, buoyed by the return of tourism and resilient expansion of the region’s economies. However, some uncertainties remain, including the potential business and consumer sentiment erosion amid rising geopolitical risks. Against this background, the region’s airlines remain vigilant to market influences while investing for future growth.”

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.