Asia airline travel underpinned by 2023 forward bookings -industry body

A rebound in Asian airline travel is "doing well" going into 2023 based on forward bookings, Subhas Menon, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), said on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the group's meeting in Bangkok, Menon told reporters that airlines underestimating pent-up demand had led to higher ticket prices, though supply was catching up and airlines faced cost headwinds from oil prices and higher interest rates.

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Travel in Asia-Pacific region recovered more slowly than other parts of the world because of prolonged border closures, though Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan have recently reopened, leaving mainland China as the major outlier.

Despite that, some carriers like Singapore Airlines Ltd and Qantas Airways Ltd are reporting record levels of profitability and returning cash to shareholders based on strong pent-up demand and constrained supply, even though oil prices are high.

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Many Asian airlines like Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways, Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd and Korean Air Lines Co Ltd relied on cargo for the majority of their revenue during the depths of the pandemic because of the depressed passenger market.

However, the cargo market has weakened relative to last year amid global economic shocks from inflation, China's zero-COVID policy and the war in Ukraine.

Source: Reuters

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