North Pacific air route development: Part 3 - China's primary and secondary airport hubs evolving

Unsurprisingly, nearly 80% of the route expansion across the North Pacific in the past five years has occurred at hub airports where behind gateway connections are readily available - although for various reasons those connections are not always accessible on the same terms to Asian carriers, even where they are partners of the North American airlines.

China's emergence is marked by new service - 23% of all frequencies across the North Pacific are today are directed towards Shanghai and Beijing, up from 16% in 2009, while Tokyo has suffered the most notable reduction in flights.

However, as the market develops and as new factors like the introduction of the 787 begin to influence network planning, secondary airports are also starting to benefit. But it is a gradual process. Since 2009 there have been five new North American cities and three Asian airports directly linked for the first time.

Chinese airlines are increasing their commitment to US and Canadian points; and airports such as Shanghai Pudong, home of China Eastern, and Wuhan are offering generous inducements to airlines to add new long-haul service.

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