Asia-Pacific risks losing its position as the largest aviation market

Mumbai: China’s tougher border measures and Japan’s cautious approach to easing restrictions on inbound travel could displace Asia-Pacific as the world’s largest air passenger market for 2022, according to a report on Monday.

While 3.38 billion flyers traveled in the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region, or 37% of the global volume of 9.16 billion in 2019, the number of air passengers in the region fell by more than half to 1 .50 billion in 2021, with the region’s share falling to 33%, according to the Airports Council International-Asia Pacific (ACI-Asia-Pacific) report. After phenomenal growth, 2020 was a pivotal year for aviation as the Covid-19 pandemic crippled the industry, he said.

ACI-Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong, represents airport operators in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region with 131 members operating 618 airports in 49 countries/territories in the region. The forecast, however, does not include the Middle East, he said. Asia-Pacific, which dominated the civil aviation market for several years before the pandemic, is expected to finish second, behind Europe in terms of passenger share and comparable to North America, said declared ACI-Asia Pacific.

He said the latest forecasts indicate that by the end of 2022, passenger traffic will only recover by about 55% from pre-pandemic levels. This is in stark contrast to other regions where recovery is significantly higher, and in fact estimated to be around 70% and 80%, respectively. Although ACI’s latest forecast predicts 22% growth for 2022 compared to 2021, Asia-Pacific’s share of passenger traffic is expected to fall to second in the world, with traffic estimated at 1.84 billion passengers, a decrease of 45% compared to 2019. , he specifies.

Stefano Baronci, Managing Director of ACI-Asia-Pacific, said: “Traffic in the region cannot fully recover to 2019 levels unless all countries keep their borders open to facilitate freedom of movement. . China and Japan – one of the largest contributors to overall traffic in the region – have been slow to lift travel and Covid restrictions.” Baronci said ACI-Asia-Pacific urges states to adopt a measured approach to facilitate recovery in a more sustainable way and without causing a significant impact on their health system.

“Accelerating the recovery will require support from across industry and government, especially given an increasingly challenging macroeconomic scenario,” he said. ACI-Asia-Pacific also said it has written a letter, co-signed by ACI World and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), to the Prime Minister of Japan, urging the government to remove all restrictions and restore travel privileges to allow smooth recovery of industry in the region.

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