2018 Air Travel Outlook Report highlights Asia-Pacific as the biggest air travel demand driver in the next two decades, the best months and days of the week to book air travel and the busiest air travel hubs in Asia.
Drawing on ARC’s extensive air travel data, including average ticket prices, flight booking, departure and arrival trends between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017, Expedia and ARC experts analysed billions of data points for domestic and international air travel globally to identify key patterns that travellers can use to achieve airfare savings in 2018. Besides revealing tips on how and when to find the best airfare savings in the coming year, the Air Travel Outlook Report also uncovered the top drivers of air travel demand in 2018, busiest air travel hubs in 2018 along with the top sources of passenger flows for these hubs.
Chuck Thackston, ARC’s managing director of data science and research, said: “It’s well understood that consumers who possess relevant information in tune with their personal preferences before they shop, will be more confident and likely to make a final purchase. With our continued strong relationship with Expedia, including Egencia, ARC is able to provide these broad-based insights on travel around the world – both leisure and corporate – that supports the continued growth of air travel and the travel industry as a whole. The ability to see what is changing and provide actionable data and insights to ARC’s customers and travelers worldwide is core to ARC’s analytical capabilities.”
Key findings from the 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report include:
1. Asia-Pacific poised to be the biggest driver of air travel demand in the next two decades
Based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast, air travel routes to, from and within the Asia-Pacific region will see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, growing by an annual average rate of 4.6 percent. China is also anticipated to displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market by around 2022, while India is being tipped to surpass UK to take fifth place in 2025, with Indonesia catching up by 2030. Additionally, Thailand is anticipated to enter the world’s top 10 largest markets during the forecast period.
2. Airfare saving tips for 2018: best times to book your air travel
For most economy air travel, booking more than 30 days ahead of your travel date often results in cheaper airfares. Additionally, booking your air travel on a Sunday for departure on a Thursday or Friday is the best recipe to ?nding good prices. However, there were notable exceptions to this trend, particularly for flights departing internationally from Australia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand within the Asia-Pacific region. For Thailand, the lowest air ticket prices (ATPs) can be found when you book an international economy flight on a Saturday, for departure on a Thursday.
Figure 2.1 Cheapest and most expensive days to book based on day of booking and day of departure for international economy air travel.
When it comes to the best months to book international economy travel, the lowest ATPs were historically found in:
- January for international economy travel from Japan;
- February for international economy travel from Indonesia;
- March for international economy travel from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore;
- November for international economy travel from South Korea and Thailand; and
- December for international economy travel from China.
Figure 2.2 Cheapest and most expensive months to book international economy air travel in Asia.
For most premium air travel (first and business class), booking more than 30 days ahead also tend to result in cheaper airfares. However, when it comes to the best days to booking international premium air travel, booking on a Saturday or a Sunday for travel on a Friday or a Sunday tends to have the lowest ATPs across geographic regions. The difference in the premiums paid for purchasing airfares on the most expensive day versus the cheapest day of week can range from 15 percent to 120 percent for international flights. This is likely driven by corporate traveller buying behaviour, as corporate travellers are less likely to book business travel on weekends when they are not at work.
For premium travellers who can afford to be flexible with travel dates, avoiding travel during the months where the highest ATPs were recorded historically may save you some money. The month of June saw the highest ATPs for Australian and New Zealand travellers; while for most parts of Asia, the months between April and September had seen the highest international premium travel ATPs.
3. Singapore among the top five busiest air travel hubs in Asia
Majority of Asia’s busiest airports are concentrated in North Asia, with the exception of Bangkok and Singapore in Southeast Asia. For economy travel, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei emerged as the top five economy travel hubs in Asia, with majority of passenger flows originating from airports within the region.
Figure 3.1 Top five economy travel hubs in Asia and their respective key international origin airports.
For premium travel, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul emerged as the top six premium travel hubs in Asia, with majority of premium passenger flows coming in from airports in Asia, the USA and Europe.
Figure 3.2 Top six premium travel hubs in Asia and their respective key international origin airports.
“Expedia’s mission is to help people go places, and in order to achieve this, we are constantly on a lookout for ways to improve the travel booking experience, and leverage the power of data to do so. Based on the 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report, we concurred that booking your air tickets more than 30 days before departure will reap you the best savings. Depending on whether you are travelling premium or economy classes, and where you are travelling from, these factors will also play a part in determining when you can get the best air ticket prices. This report will not only give you the depth of information to help you make your travel booking decisions, it also empowers you to travel smarter, and travel more with less, especially in a time where ‘value’ has become increasingly important for travellers round the world,” said James Marshall, Asia Pacific Vice President, Transport Partner Services, Expedia group.
You can see the full infographic here.