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APAC set to surpass 2019 travel demand by 2024 with focus on China and India

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Alton Aviation Consultancy predicts APAC’s airline industry rebound by 2024, highlighting growth opportunities in China and India.

SINGAPORE – The pandemic is now in the rear-view mirror for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region as it is expected to surpass 2019 baseline travel demand in 2024. The story is now one of growth, with China and India being the key markets of focus, according to a new report from Alton Aviation Consultancy.

The global aviation advisory firm released its latest whitepaper, Asia Pacific’s Flight Path: Seizing Opportunities in an Evolving Landscape, offering detailed insight into the current airline industry performance, as well as the opportunities and challenges that exist in the APAC region.

The report outlines factors that have slowed growth in the region, including delays in returning aircraft into service and sky-high airfares which have reduced international demand. While APAC airlines are predicted to become marginally profitable in aggregate in 2024, near-term risks to profitability include volatile fuel and oil prices, high labor costs and the strength of the US dollar, which is often the transactional currency for jet fuel, spare parts, rent, and financing.

Adam Cowburn, report co-author and managing director in Alton’s Singapore office, adds: “While the industry should remain mindful of near-term headwinds that could derail recovery, the focus for 2024 should be on adapting and capitalizing on new trends. That means continued investment in airport infrastructure to support demand growth, alongside new technologies that improve the passenger experience, optimize costs, and enhance sustainability.”

This continued investment in airport infrastructure and new technologies will be essential for China and India, key markets for APAC air traffic demand, to overcome some of the hurdles to sustain their growth trajectories.

Joshua Ng, report co-author and director in Alton’s Singapore office, says: “While China retains its title as the largest APAC air traffic market, the slow resumption of flights to and from the country has been the biggest barrier to recovery. India represents the region’s hope for a future growth engine, with a population that surpassed China’s in 2023 and a dynamic low-cost carrier (LCC) segment. While the current gap in spending power means India will remain a smaller aviation market than China for some time to come, GDP growth in India and the increased involvement of the private sector in aviation demonstrates the potential to become the engine that powers APAC’s growth story.”

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