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China’s aviation industry is growing rapidly, in line with its burgeoning economy. The CAAC is the aviation authority under the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China responsible for civil aviation and the investigation of aviation accidents and incidents. The military controls Chinese airspace (restricted), in addition to flight clearances and authorisations. Non-commercial air travel is subordinate to military traffic and as such, general and private aviation in the country is rare.
Airports in China
1,346 total articles
Northeast Asia dominated the developments of East Asian airport growth in 2016. Beijing Capital, Asia's largest and the world's second biggest, further narrowed the gap with first place Atlanta. Yet with some Beijing Capital traffic due to start moving to the second airport Beijing Daxing in mid 2019, Beijing Capital may not overtake Atlanta in the near future.
Asia's second largest airport, Tokyo Haneda, is undergoing steady growth ahead of a slot increase to support more international visitors for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Asia's third largest airport, Hong Kong, could soon be overtaken by Shanghai Pudong, which has had a dramatic growth story, especially in the last two years. Seoul Incheon has also grown rapidly and benefits from infrastructure developments.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi posted record traffic, despite some traffic having moved to Don Mueang a few years ago. That initiative to make room for more growth gave only a few years of breathing room.
Asia's largest airports continue to be defined by pent up demand waiting for a combination of more runways, slots, terminals and air space.
A period of restructuring following investment by new shareholders in TAP Portugal in Nov-2015 has led to a resurgent airline. It returned to profit in 2016 after two years of losses and enjoyed a surge in passenger numbers in 4Q2016.
The investment by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which HNA Group will formally join in 1H2017, provided funds for fleet expansion. TAP's orders include A321neoLR aircraft, giving it the potential to open new long haul routes not possible with widebodies.
TAP's VP finance, Teresa Lopes, told the CAPA Fleet & Finance Summit on 2-Mar-2017 that the A321neoLR would be deployed on the Atlantic, putting the airline at the forefront of narrowbody long haul operations. TAP's new shareholders have also enabled new partnerships with Brazil's Azul, JetBlue of the US and China's Hainan Airlines. The TAP-Azul relationship has already progressed beyond codeshare and the Hainan relationship offers much potential.
In the past year TAP has also reorganised its regional operation, launched a new fare structure and embarked on a seat densification programme to lower unit cost and drive revenue. As Ms Lopes said, "We are certainly going through a transformation, we don’t want to be envisioned as a legacy carrier anymore".
China Airlines has sat out on long haul growth over the last decade and is now looking to reinvigorate its position, making wins against local rival EVA Air, which has quietly but spectacularly grown. EVA, however, now faces uncertainty with new owners that may favour conservative expansion, which could benefit China Airlines. But China Airlines remains in a difficult position, one where it is under too much influence from its government owners, has an undefined vision, and lacks having aircraft on order.
China Airlines has received four A350s, with another 10 due by the end of 2018. China Airlines will have twice as many A350 flights to North America as to Europe – the market it originally envisaged for the A350.
European A350 growth could expand as China Airlines plans to resume London in Jun-2017. China Airlines could also consider a new service to Paris. Europe risks long term overcapacity, however, and this is not a strong market for Taiwan. Growth options are limited to North America, where China Airlines needs longer range aircraft but does not have any more 777-300ERs on order.
For the first time in Northeast Asian aviation, low cost airlines are poised to overtake full service airlines in a significant way. The market concerned is that between Japan and Korea, where LCCs are rapidly growing, while full service airlines are decreasing capacity. Overall market size and visitor figures are at record highs. This refutes any legacy airline thinking that LCCs "steal" market share; LCCs are growing the market and becoming the future – as they already are in other parts in the world.
LCCs accounted for 1% of available seats between Japan and Korea in 2009, reached 37% in 2016, and so far in 2017 will account for 49% of the market. Limited airport data indicates that LCCs, operating at higher load factors, already transport more passengers than full service airlines, and by the end of 2017 LCCs should easily account for the majority of capacity.
LCCs already fly more airport pairs than their full service counterparts. The LCC development between Japan and Korea illustrates underlying LCC opportunity in Northeast Asia but also reflects on the importance of liberalisation, and for full service airlines to have efficient cost bases.
In 2016 Finnair accelerated its rate of capacity growth after a modest return to expansion in 2015, following cuts in 2014. It also experienced a fall in unit revenue (as did most European airlines), most notably in the regions of highest capacity growth, i.e. the long haul markets North America and Asia.
Asia is Finnair's most important long haul market (Japan and China are its two biggest markets by ASKs) and its ranking by seats on routes between European and NE/SE Asia is disproportionate. It has ambitious growth plans in the region and will increase frequencies to Tokyo and Hong Kong this summer. Its long haul network, which will also extend to San Francisco this summer and Goa next winter, is largely founded on connecting traffic via its Helsinki hub.
Finnair's return to capacity growth has coincided with a return to profit, but lower fuel prices were the main driver of its bottom line improvement. Its profit margins remain slim and, beyond the vagaries of fuel price benefits, Finnair aims for more sustainable unit cost cuts. Fleet strategy and labour productivity form a two pronged attack on its cost base.
The annual airport construction overview report for 2017 focuses on Latin America and Africa, two regions that are often overlooked but which make their contribution to the global total of activity. One of them, Africa, is surprisingly strong in new airport construction, as long as the funding can be found, which is no easy task.
The total known global investment on airport projects continues to grow, and hovers close to the USD1 trillion mark; and with Asia Pacific the overall leader.
There are, however, anomalies, with some regions witnessing many projects but small investment figures, and vice versa. This report attempts to explain those anomalies while offering a breakdown of the biggest projects in each region.