Asia-Pacific airlines continued to enjoy strong international growth in March, with leisure and business travel surging.

The region’s airlines carried 28 million passengers in March, up 37.5% from a year earlier, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

SIA 787-10 Saigon

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

A Singapore Airlines 787-10 at Ho Chi Minh city airport in April 2024. Asia-Pacific airlines continued to enjoy strong demand in March

Both ASKs and RPKs grew 38.6% year on year, although passenger load factors were flat at 82%.

“March saw another healthy expansion in both passenger and cargo markets, culminating in a strong first quarter performance for 2024,” says AAPA director general Subhas Menon.

“For the three-month period, Asian airlines registered a 47% year-on-year increase in the number of passengers carried, fuelled by a surge in demand for both leisure and business travel. Additionally, international air cargo traffic witnessed a solid 16% year-on-year increase during the same period, signalling that the full recovery of the Asia Pacific airline industry is well within sight.”

On the international cargo front during March, Asia-pacific carriers saw FTKs rise 15.3% and FATK’s rise 16.2%. Freight load factors for the month fell 0.5 percentage points to 62.7%.

”The potential alleviation of interest rates and inflationary pressures are expected to stimulate spending, thereby driving further growth in air travel and cargo markets in the upcoming months,” adds Menon.

“However, the airline operating environment is challenging today, marked by international conflicts, extreme weather events and supply chain issues, that increase cost pressures on carriers due to re-routings, flight diversions and disruptions. Nevertheless, the Asia Pacific airline industry is growing steadily, steadfastly focused on enhancing air connectivity and the travel experience of their customers.”