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Asia Pacific airlines experience robust growth in January 2024

Asian Airlines

January 2024 saw significant growth in international passenger and cargo traffic for Asia Pacific airlines, driven by demand around the Lunar New Year, reaching 82% of pre-pandemic levels.

Preliminary January 2024 traffic figures released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed a good start to the year, with healthy growth in both international passenger traffic and cargo markets underpinned by strong demand ahead of the Lunar New Year festive season.

Overall, the region’s airlines carried a combined 27.0 million international passengers in January, a 49.4% increase from the previous corresponding period. Traffic reached 82.0% of 2019 levels. As measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), demand rose by 48.3% year-on-year, reflecting robust regional travel demand. Available seat capacity expanded by 51.3% year-on-year, while the international passenger load factor fell by 1.6 percentage points to average 79.9% for the month.

Meanwhile, January saw a continuation of growth in air cargo markets, propelled by demand related to the festive Lunar New Year season. International air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), recorded a strong 22.5% year-on-year increase for the month, extending the rebound seen in the last quarter of 2023. Nevertheless, growth in offered freight capacity continued to outpace demand, driven by the ongoing recovery in belly-hold capacities of international passenger operations. For the month, offered freight capacity rose by 25.8% year-on-year, leading to a 1.6 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 57.5%.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General said, “The year started on a positive note for Asia Pacific airlines, as both international air passenger and cargo markets saw robust growth, supported by the timing of the Lunar New Year festive period. Travel demand was boosted by a rise in leisure travellers, while cargo markets benefitted from heightened demand for air shipments ahead of the festive period.”

Looking ahead, Mr. Menon said, “The upcoming year looks broadly positive for Asian carriers, given the renewed optimism on the global economic outlook. However, as capacity restoration progresses, airlines face intensifying competition. In addition, the cost environment remains challenging, as inflationary pressures continue to be felt amid ongoing supply chain issues. Nevertheless, airlines remain pro-active in seeking new growth opportunities, while maintaining the highest safety and customer service standards.”

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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.