Market Growth in China

Ahead of next year's Routes Asia forum we look in more detail at the continued growth of the Chinese market, and in particular aviation in Kunming and the Yunnan province, which will play host to the event between March 15 - 17, 2015.

China’s economy has grown 7.7 per cent year on year in 2013, and its gross domestic product (GDP) reached 56.88 trillion RMB (9.31 trillion USD), making it the world’s largest economy in 2014, in front of the United States. It is the first time since that the US has been overtaken, since it surpassed Britain in 1872.

In 2013 China airports handled 353.97 million passengers (+10.06%) and 5.61 million tonnes of cargo (+3%). Yunnan’s 12 airports handled 40 million passengers (+25.3%) and 282 thousand tonnes of cargo (+11.3%) in 2013. Kunming Changshui International Airport is ranked the 55th busiest airport in the world by enplanements with 29,688,182 passengers in 2013, a 23.8% increase from the previous year. The growth rate of Kunming Changshui International Airport is ranked second in top 100 world airports in 2013.

Kunming Changshui International Airport will also see the first European connection to Paris CDG from China Eastern Airlines. The SkyTeam member plans to offer three weekly flights using Airbus A330-200 aircraft from December 18, 2014, significantly enhancing connectivity to Yunnan. 

In terms of economy, Yunnan Province increased 12.1%, ranking the third fastest growing province in China, with the GDP reached 1.17 trillion RMB (0.19 trillion USD).

The economic growth of China over the next ten years is expected to be between 6.5% and 7%. Historical statistics also show that in general, air travel growth is faster than GDP growth, and the central government is dedicated to market reform and restructuring the Chinese economy more than ever.

Amongst the government agenda is the redistribution of income and making consumption a more important economic driver than capital investment and export, which means more and more people in China can afford air travel, and the base of frequent flyers will also increase from its current figure to around 50 million passengers per year.

Yunnan province is less advanced than the coastal regions, but the economy will continue to grow at a pace faster than the national average. From the national strategy and geo-political perspective, Yunnan is the national gateway to ASEAN countries (South Asia, Oceania and West Asia). Trade and economic ties with these regions will continue to grow.

Successful routes from Kunming include Southeast Asia tourist destinations such as the Long Islands in the Philippines, destinations in Malaysia and Indonesia, Karachi in Pakistan, and both Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia, which attracts tourists in both directions.

The growth of air connectivity from Kunming is clear in our schedules analysis of official data from OAG Schedules Analyser. Between 2004 and 2014 the number of destinations connected non-stop to Kunming has grown from 57 in 2004 to 117 this year, while departures have grown 244.5 per cent from 40,732 to 140,317 and capacity has increased 257.6 per cent from 6.07 million seats to 20.50 million seats an average annual rise of 23.8 per cent.

Data provided by OAG

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