Bellyhold shortage holds back air cargo market recovery in APAC

Whilst air cargo demand stood relatively firm, border and travel restrictions meant fewer passenger planes to add bellyhold capacity.


Air & Cargo Services air cargo Air Cargo Asia air cargo freight air cargo market recovery Air Forwarding air freight Air Freight Asia Air Freight Logistics air freighter air freighting Air Logistics Asia Air Shipping Asia airlines cargo airways cargo asia cargo news Association of Asia Pacific Airlines cargo aviation international cargo Subhas Menon


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Asia Pacific airlines carried 13 percent less international cargo in October compared to a year ago even as business conditions continued to improve globally, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Whilst international air cargo demand remained relatively firm, not the same could be said about the passenger side which absorbed the impact of border closures and travel restrictions and resulted to lack of bellyhold space and capacity shortages for air cargo shipments.

Consequently, the average international freight load factor climbed 9.7 percentage points higher to 71.4 percent for the month.

Commenting on the results, AAPA director general Mr. Subhas Menon, said, “Prolonged border restrictions have led to precipitous declines in air traffic and global connectivity, with Asia Pacific alone suffering a 76% plunge. The dismal numbers underscore the severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the airline industry.”

“Whilst government financial support lent critical lifelines to some airlines, already a number of carriers are being restructured, whilst others may not survive this protracted crisis.”

Mr. Menon cited the marked recovery in domestic markets to express his optimism for international travel. “Air transport is an enabler of economic activity, and an indispensable conduit for global transport, trade and tourism,” he added.

AAPA called on governments to redouble their efforts to work cooperatively with other governments and industry stakeholders to safely restart international air travel, asking them to heed calls to adopt and implement mutually agreed protocols.

“New ICAO guidance materials developed in conjunction with WHO, CDC and ECDC, recommend incorporating harmonised testing as part of a multi-layered and risk-managed approach to facilitate international air transport,” Menon noted.

The trade association said that the Asia Pacific aviation is ready and willing to play its part in a successful restart and recovery. It also underlined the critical role of airlines in the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.



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