Air traffic

APAC and Middle East air traffic picks up after travel restrictions ease

A new report from Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific (APAC) revealed that air passenger numbers in the region in the second quarter of 2022 improved thanks to the easing of restrictions induced by Covid-19 and vaccination campaigns successful.

The second edition of the ACI Asia-Pacific Industry Outlook unveiled passenger volume growth in various countries, including Cambodia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, during the quarter.

There was a noticeable increase in traffic from February to early July 2022 due to the removal of limitations on cross-border flights.

According to the report, which covered the period from April to June this year, countries in South Asia such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and India, as well as countries in the Middle East, including Oman, the United United Arab Emirates and Iraq, recovered nearly 85% of Q2 2019. Number of places.

On the other hand, East Asian countries such as China, Mongolia and North Korea reached only 15% of the second quarter 2019 level in terms of seat capacity due to the China’s “zero-Covid” attitude and prolonged lockdowns.

The aviation industry has seen increased demand for holidays and vacations, which should help the sector recover amid inflation and geopolitical tensions.

Although seeing less traffic compared to 2019 levels, most airports have started operating at full capacity during peak hours, the report said.

Regular domestic seat capacity was 89% of the pre-pandemic norm in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of 2019.

However, overseas flight seat capacity has fallen by 59% due to continued travel restrictions, quarantine and testing rules, particularly in China and parts of Japan.

By the third quarter of 2022, domestic seat capacity is expected to exceed 2019 levels. Overall traffic for this year is expected to be the same as 2019.

APAC and Middle East air cargo market expected to perform strongly amid China’s air cargo sector revival and Europe-Asia cargo flights rerouted via the Middle East to escape Russian skies .

Emerging countries in East Asia recorded the largest share in terms of freight volume at 32%, followed by developed countries in East Asia with a share of 30%.

The Middle East shared 16% of cargo volume while Southeast Asia recorded 15% of air cargo traffic in the second quarter of 2022.

Although airports have seen improvements in various areas, the financial space has continued to perform significantly worse compared to pre-pandemic levels, which has weakened the sector economically.

Airports in the region recorded quarterly revenues 60% lower than 2019, which is similar to 2021 levels.

According to Industry Outlook, airports in APAC and the Middle East have experienced fewer labor shortages than their European and other counterparts.

This can be attributed to the fact that several airports have decided to hire their employees despite the challenges and the better pace of air traffic recovery than in other parts of the world.

However, Asia-Pacific is expected to see the slowest improvement in air traffic this year, reaching just 62% of 2019 levels.

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