Dueling Hubs — Hong Kong vs. Singapore
SUBSCRIBE TO ON THE FLY
In 2019, before the pandemic started, Hong Kong’s scheduled capacity was trending downward. That year, departing ASMs from the airport declined slightly, owing to political unrest. Singapore, meanwhile, grew ASMs 4% in 2019. Both cities naturally saw activity plummet during the pandemic. But while Singapore’s market is starting to rebuild, Hong Kong’s is not; at least not yet, as you can see from the chart. In 2021, Hong Kong’s ASMs shrank 55% from the year prior, while Singapore’s shrank only 18%. So far this year, Singapore’s market is opening while Hong Kong’s remains essentially closed.
Both airports have recovered from setbacks before, including the SARS mini-pandemic in the early 2000s. Will both airports eventually recover at a similar pace, restoring their past aviation glory? In Hong Kong’s case, an exodus of foreign businesses, bankers and other professionals poses a major challenge to future intercontinental demand. Singapore, meanwhile, could be poised to capture some of that exodus and build new sources of airline traffic. But the path ahead contains much uncertainty.
Never miss an on the fly story. Sign-up to receive an email notice when a new story is published.