A trusted source of Asia-Pacific commercial aviation news and analysis

APRIL 2021

Week 14


February air passenger demand remains weak but cargo delivers strong performance

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April 8th 2021

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Figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed demand for air travel stayed weak in February, with revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) down 70.3% compared with the same month a year earlier. Read More » IATA said the weakness was a result of a deterioration in most international markets as well as in domestic China. Carriers in the Asia-Pacific outperformed their global peers, but the region’s RPKs still were down 56.7% year-on-year in February. "February showed no indication of a recovery in demand for international air travel," said new IATA director general and CEO, Willie Walsh. "In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of continuing concerns about new coronavirus variants."

IATA said there was brighter news on the cargo front with volumes, or cargo tonne kilometres (CTK), up 9% in February compared with the same month in 2019. "In month-on-month terms, CTKs picked up by 1.5%, returning to levels last recorded in 2018 when air cargo business started to be adversely impacted by the U.S.-China trade war," IATA said. "So this has been a strong performance." The cargo load factor was 12.6 percentage points higher in February, at 57.5%, compared with February 2019. International CTKs of Asia-Pacific carriers rose 10.9% in February compared with 2019 levels, IATA said, with a "majority of Asia trade lanes well above pre-crisis levels".

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