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Top 10 Asia Pacific Airports – 1H2023 insights and regional recovery prospects

Analysis

The past few years have not been kind to large airports in Asia Pacific.

With regional lockdowns, a morass of COVID-19 travel requirements and stubbornly closed international borders, the recovery in the region has trailed behind the rest of the world.

However, as lockdowns have ended and borders reopened passenger traffic in the region has started to return to more 'normal' volumes. In 1H2023 there has been the situation of airports enjoying a steep rebound in traffic, with travellers eager to return to destinations that have been cut off to them in the past few years, or to explore new destinations.

A new CAPA - Centre for Aviation report looks at the region's ten largest airports in 1H202023 and their recovery prospects.

Summary
  • Recovery in the Asia Pacific region has been slower compared to the rest of the world, but passenger traffic is gradually returning to normal volumes.
  • Domestic markets in the region have performed well, while international travel is making a more uneven comeback.
  • China has been a key driver of the international travel recovery in the region, with Chinese travelers starting to venture back to foreign destinations.
  • Across the Asia Pacific's ten largest airports, travel is now at almost 85% of 2019 volumes, but a full return to pre-pandemic traffic levels is still ahead.
  • The region's recovery will be a hotbed of aviation activity as connectivity is restored, networks are rebuilt, and new traveler preferences are catered to.
  • The Asia Pacific region is expected to be a major engine for global growth in aviation, driven by its growing middle class, expanding aircraft fleet, and increasing airport infrastructure.

Summary

  • The recovery in the Asia Pacific region has trailed behind the rest of the world, but passenger traffic in the region has started to return to more 'normal' volumes.
  • Recovery in the region has ben far from uniform - domestic markets have generally performed well; international now returning, albeit uneven.
  • The big driver of the international travel recovery for the region over 1H2023 has been China.
  • Across the Asia Pacific's ten largest airports, travel is now back at almost 85% of 2019 volumes. A full return to pre-pandemic traffic volumes across the region is still a little way ahead.
  • Tokyo Haneda International Airport was Asia Pacific's largest airport in 1H2023 ahead of Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
  • CAPA - Centre for Aviation report looks at the region's ten largest airports in 1H202023 and their recovery prospects.

Asia Pacific recovery has been far from uniform

Recovery in the region has been far from uniform.

Domestic markets have generally performed well. Through the COVID-19 pandemic period airlines and travellers sought out local options to replace destinations further afield.

As a result, most Asia Pacific markets are close to, or even above, pre-pandemic levels. Some have put the COVID-19 pandemic behind them completely, and are entering a new phase of growth.

Asia Pacific and Global domestic and international traffic recovery (percentage vs 2019), Jan-2020 to Jul-2023

The return of international travel in the region, though, has been much more uneven.

As in the rest of the world, short haul and leisure travel has come back quickly, but intercontinental and business traffic has lagged well behind.

China the key driver for international travel recovery

The big driver of the international travel recovery for the region over 1H2023 has been China.

With Chinese authorities finally bowing to the inevitable and abandoning the 'zero COVID' policy at the end of 2022, Chinese travellers are starting to venture back to foreign destinations.

The return of the Chinese outbound market hasn't been as rapid, or as widespread, as hoped, but it continues to gather momentum. China is the world's largest source market for international tourism and travel, and the returning confidence in the market will stoke the recovery for the rest of the region.

Across the Asia Pacific's ten largest airports, travel is now back at almost 85% of 2019 volumes. A full return to pre-pandemic traffic volumes across the region is still a little way ahead.

In the interim, the region will be a hotbed of aviation activity as connectivity is restored, networks are rebuilt, and new traveller preferences are catered to.

1H2023: Asia Pacific, top 10 airports and passenger load factor

Beyond this, the Asia Pacific will provide one of the major engines for global growth in aviation.

With its fast-growing middle class, rapidly expanding aircraft fleet, and ever more airport infrastructure going into place, the region's importance as both a source of travel and a destination will only continue to expand.

New CAPA - Centre for Aviation report looks at the region's ten largest airports in 1H202023 and their recovery prospects.

A new complimentary CAPA - Centre for Aviation report looks at the region's ten largest airports in 1H202023 and their recovery prospects. You can download it here: Top 10 Asia Pacific Airports - 1H2023 insights and regional recovery prospects

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