Preliminary traffic results for 2022 released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed robust recovery in international passenger markets after more than two years of prolonged lockdowns and strict border control measures that severely crippled demand.
In 2022, Asia-Pacific airlines carried a combined total of 105.4 million international passengers, compared to the 17.4 million passengers recorded in 2021. By December, international passengers carried climbed to 47.5% of pre-pandemic levels, a significant improvement from the 7% recorded in January.
Measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) terms, international passenger demand rose by a strong 439% for the year. After accounting for a 144% expansion in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor jumped 39.9 percentage points higher to average 72.8% in 2022.
Subhas Menon, director general, AAPA, commented: “The release of pent-up travel demand drove a 507% annual increase in the number of passengers carried for the year. However, demand in 2022 averaged just 27% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels, underscoring the significant progress still required towards full recovery.”
Looking ahead, Menon said: “The outlook for 2023 is broadly positive, notably for passenger travel. The recovery of passenger demand is expected to progress further in the coming months, driven by strong appetite for travel.
“In particular, the recent easing of travel restrictions in China will further fuel demand, although the re-imposition of testing requirements for inbound travellers by some governments may somewhat slow down recovery in the shorter term.”