Asia-Pacific’s Busiest Routes As The Recovery Progresses

Routes takes a look at the busiest routes in the Asia-Pacific region this month and how the picture has changed compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Although the Asia-Pacific region is playing catch-up on restarting travel after the pandemic, there is growing momentum with governments lifting many travel restrictions.

Analysis of data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that overall capacity to, from and within the region totals some 164.7 million seats during July 2022, up by 22.6% on the same month a year ago and by 16.2% recorded in June 2022.

Despite this, the total for July remains 19.8% down on pre-pandemic levels.

Domestic markets make up 82.3% of the available capacity this month and are back to 99.5% of the capacity offered during July 2019. International capacity of 27.6 million seats is 59.3% lower than at this time three years ago, but the picture has improved since June 2022, rising by 3.9 million seats.

Looking at the current top 10 busiest routes in the Asia-Pacific region by scheduled capacity, all are domestic, led by the world’s busiest route: Seoul Gimpo (GMP)-Jeju (CJU). The South Korean sector’s overall capacity of 1.4 million two-way monthly seats is 8.1% down on the pre-pandemic number.

Comparing the top 10 busiest in July 2019 with July 2022 shows that Hanoi (HAN)-Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) has jumped from fourth to second, with 12.8% more seats being offered on the Vietnamese service now than three years ago.

The Vietnam airport pair of Hanoi and Routes Asia 2022 host Da Nang (DAD) has also climbed into the top 10, up from the 18th busiest in July 2019. The OAG data shows that there are 41.2% more seats now than three years ago.

Also entering the top 10 is the Indonesian domestic leisure route between the country’s capital Jakarta (CGK) and Denpasar (DPS), the main gateway to Bali. There are 645,602 two-way seats available this month, up by 25.9% on July 2019.

Dropping out of the 10 busiest is Hong Kong (HKG-Taiwan Taoyuan (TPE) and Tokyo Haneda (HND)-Osaka (ITM), which have respectively slipped from the ninth and 10th busiest at this time three years ago to the 52nd and 12th busiest now.

Looking solely at international markets highlights the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions on Hong Kong—and how a more open policy in Singapore (SIN) has influenced its recovery.

Hong Kong featured in six of the top 10 busiest international routes by capacity in July 2019, but currently just has one in the top 10. Overall capacity from the airport in July 2022 is 1.3 million two-way seats, down from 8 million three years ago.

Meanwhile, Singapore now features in six of the top 10 routes, including the busiest international service. Total capacity from SIN this month is back to 57% of pre-pandemic levels.

Elsewhere, two international routes to Dubai (DXB) from Mumbai (BOM) and Delhi (DEL) in India have entered the top 10, with 21.3% more seats being offered in the BOM-DXB sector compared with July 2019, and 14.2% more between DEL and DXB.

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