Association of Asia Pacific Airlines: 2022 a year of recovery in pax numbers

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) announced the passenger numbers of its member airlines in 2022
EQRoy /

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has announced that preliminary traffic results for 2022 and December 2022 showed that the region’s airlines experienced a robust recovery throughout the year. 

In total, AAPA’s members, which include Air India, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airlines, as well as other carriers, carried a combined total of 105.4 million international passengers. That is a major increase compared to 2021, when the association’s carriers welcomed 17.4 million international travelers on board their aircraft. 

“2022 marked the start of a long-awaited recovery in international travel markets as governments across the region eased travel restrictions over the course of the year in a bid to welcome back visitors,” commented Subhas Menon, the Director General of AAPA. Menon also pointed out that pent-up travel demand allowed the association’s airlines to welcome 507% more passengers but said that “demand in 2022 averaged just 27% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels, underscoring the significant progress still required towards full recovery.”  

On average, AAPA members had a load factor of 72.8% in 2022, compared to 32.9% in 2021. Meanwhile, the freight load factor fell from 74.1% in 2021 to 66.6% in 2022. Menon said that demand for air cargo “fell by a steep 20.7% year-on-year in December, bringing the decline for the full year 2022 to 8.2%”. 

Still, the association’s Director General is hopeful for 2023. 

“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,” AAPA’s chief executive continued.  

China ended its zero-COVID policy in January 2023, allowing international travelers to enter the country without quarantine from January 8, 2023. 

According to OAG, which analyzed the frequency and capacity statistics for January 2023, “global capacity has increased again, up to 427.1m, which is a 3.3% increase on last month”. In North East Asia, specifically, capacity increased by 21.2% during the month, “following the news that China will reopen to international travel from 8th January”. 

“Asian airlines continue to work closely with regulators, airports, and other stakeholders to serve the travelling public and deliver a seamless, safe, and sustainable experience,” Menon concluded.  

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