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Japan crisis: US, China and South Korea most exposed to downturn in traffic

21-Mar-2011

The crises hitting Japan is having a significant influence well beyond its borders. The country’s USD62.5 billion aviation market accounts for some 6.5% of worldwide scheduled traffic and 10% of the industry’s revenues, according to IATA. It is an important component of the global premium air traveller market and big generator of outbound tourists for the worldwide tourism industry.

IATA is not yet putting a figure on the likely long-term impacts of events in Japan on the industry’s financial health, but noted the industry should expect a short-term impact from a "major" slowdown in Japanese air travel. Additionally, Japan produces 3-4% of global jet fuel supply, some of which is exported to Asia. IATA said some of this refinery capacity has been lost due to damage caused by the earthquake, which could lead to higher jet fuel prices.

The industry body stated Japan’s domestic market (USD19 billion in revenues, 83 million passengers per year) is the most exposed.

Internationally, the top 10 international markets connecting to Japan are the US, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The most exposed market to Japanese operations is China where Japan accounts for 23% of its international revenues. Taiwan and South Korea are equally exposed with 20% of their revenues related to Japanese operations, followed by Thailand (15%), the US (12%), Hong Kong (11%) and Singapore (9%). France is the most exposed European market at 7%, followed by Germany (6%) and the United Kingdom (3%).

See related report: Japan crisis: Travellers urged to leave Tokyo, air fares spike, flights cut. 71 airlines hit

In sheer volume terms, South Korea is the biggest international market linked with Japan (9.6 million passengers), following by the US and China. Long-haul markets to Germany, France and the UK generate the greatest airline revenues per international passenger at approximately USD1,500 to USD1,600.

International markets most exposed to Japan: 2010

Market

Annual Passengers

(mln)

Annual Revenues
(USD, bln)

Revenue per pax

(USD)

USA

9.2

10.5

1141

China

8.6

6.5

756

South Korea

9.6

3.1

323

Taiwan

4.2

2.3

548

Hong Kong

3.2

1.9

594

Thailand

2.3

1.6

696

France

1.0

1.5

1500

Germany

0.9

1.5

1667

UK

0.7

1.1

1571

Australia

1.3

1.1

846

Severe falls seen in outbound Japanese travel, more emphasis on China

Japanese outbound travel experienced somewhat of a renaissance in 2010, rising 7.7% year-on-year to 16.6 million (which was up 4.1% on the 2008 figure). The UNWTO estimates Japan nationals spend roughly USD25 billion on travel p/a.

But Japan has been in decline as an outbound market for much of the past decade. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) stated the drop off in the Japanese outbound market will be “much more severe” over the next few months. PATA said the Japan disaster would accelerate a trend that has seen countries in the region court more visitors from China.

The biggest outbound markets for Japanese travellers is China (3.7 million in 2010), the US (3.1 million) and South Korea, mirroring comments above from IATA about the markets most affected by the crises in Japan.

South Korea is Japan’s biggest source of inbound arrivals, with some 2.2 million arrivals from Korea in the first 11 months of 2010 – up a massive 59% year-on-year.

Indeed, total inbound arrivals to Japan were up almost 30% in the first 11 months of 2010, with strong increases from China (+43%), Taiwan (+26%), Singapore (+31%), Thailand (+22%), Malaysia (+30%) and Vietnam (+23%). All but non-essential travel to Japan is likely to be curtailed in the short term.

IATA stated, “The extent to which these travel markets weaken will be largely shaped by what happens to the Japanese economy. Many economists are suggesting that once reconstruction begins the economy will rebound, but the length of the current downturn will depend critically on developments in the nuclear power situation.”

Japan outbound and inbound travel by country: 2010

Country

2010 Arrivals
from Japan

% change

2010* departures
to Japan

% change

China

3,731,100

12.5%

1,352,382

43.3%

USA

3,113,068

17.2%

673,231

4.5%

 - Hawaii

1,229,762

5.3%

n/a

n/a

South Korea

3,023,099

-1.0%

2,237,308

58.8%

France

2,486,000

3.6%

140,843

7.2%

Hong Kong

1,316,618

9.3%

466,069

16.9%

United Kingdom

n/a

n/a

171,390

2.2%

Germany

1,083,393

12.4%

116,955

12.6%

Italy

n/a

n/a

58,156

6.2%

Taiwan

1,080,153

7.9%

1,186,801

25.5%

Spain

992,880

17.4%

41,877

6.0%

Thailand

984,688

-2.0%

195,511

21.5%

Guam

893,670

8.3%

n/a

n/a

Singapore

528,817

7.9%

144,133

30.7%

Switzerland

506,875

6.8%

24,485

13.3%

Vietnam

442,089

23.3%

39,029

23.0%

Malaysia

415,881

5.1%

97,068

29.9%

Macau

413,507

9.0%

n/a

n/a

Australia

398,200

12.0%

200,936

7.2%

Indonesia**

246,350

-22.9%

69,508

29.4%

Canada

235,508

19.1%

141,030

1.2%

North Mariana Is

185,032

-3.2%

n/a

n/a

New Zealand

87,735

11.9%

29,060

2.1%

Totals

16,637,224

 7.7%

7,962,795

29.2%

“Reconstruction rebound” in second half

The Japanese situation is rapidly evolving, but the success of the recovery effort will have significant ramifications for local and global aviation.

Outgoing IATA Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, stated, “Japan is an important link in global air transport. A major slowdown in Japan is expected in the short-term. And the fortunes of the industry will likely not improve until the effect of a reconstruction rebound is felt in the second half of the year”.


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