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on the fly: Are Southeast Asian markets recovering from the pandemic?

May 16, 2022

The latest trends on how Southeast Asia (ASEAN region) is recovering from the pandemic.

Analytics on the fly

Are Southeast Asian markets recovering from the pandemic?


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), formed of ten countries, is home to more than 600m people. It is also one of the world’s most dynamic airline markets, with a large tourist sector, major business centers, high migration rates and proximity to major markets like China, India and Australia. While the ASEAN region saw much of its air service grounded during the pandemic, the region is now relaxing travel restrictions and airlines are rebuilding schedules.

While many regions have removed the stringent COVID-19 related measures, quarantine requirements are still in place in many countries in Asia. Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia however have announced relaxation of entry rules, testing requirements and mask wearing guidelines which is expected to drive up tourism and air traffic levels.

Domestic markets tend to recover more quickly than international markets due to less complexity in travel restrictions. During the crisis, ASEAN countries with large domestic markets fared better, including Indonesia and especially Vietnam.

Heavily dependent on international travel, Singapore was the worst hit among the six large ASEAN country markets. However, Singapore has lately been very active in driving the recovery and has already seen traffic in Q2 (measured by departing seats – see table below) nearly double when compared to Q2 2021. Malaysia’s figures also more than trebled for the same period.

Indonesia currently has yet to lift restrictions, but as more ASEAN countries eventually do open up, we can look forward to the prospect of seeing traffic levels further exceed 2021 performance.

Source: Diio by Cirium, data from May 9, 2022

NEXT WEEK: What drives Canada’s aviation market?

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