By Naomi Neoh, Air Transport Reporter Asia for Cirium Dashboard
India continues to be Asia-Pacific’s largest outbound market by seat capacity in February but recent months have seen peers in the region closing in as recovery accelerates.
The number of seats departing from India daily has exceeded the 100,000-mark since October 2022, notes Piyush Chawla, managing director, APAC, Cirium, speaking on a conference session at the Inter Airport South East Asia 2023 in Singapore.
Not far behind are Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore, where daily departing seats in the 80,000-100,000 range, Cirium utilization data filed on 12 February shows.
Notably, China has yet to reclaim its top spot, given that its nascent international recovery has only begun to take shape since its January reopening.
As a region, international seats departing from Asia-Pacific countries remains 40% below 2019 levels in February, at slightly over one million seats daily, mainly due to the slow return of China’s outbound market.
The patchy recovery amid the pandemic has slightly altered the leader board in terms of outbound market share among Asia-Pacific countries by seat capacity.
Unsurprisingly, China has ceded its top position amid the pandemic, its 16% share of departing seats in February 2019 falling to just 5% in February, whereas India has expanded from 6% to 10%. Japan, Thailand and South Korea remained the same between 8-10%.
Moreover, projections indicate that China’s international recovery will continue to gather speed, with daily capacity projected to improve through the first quarter and stabilise at around 65% below 2019 equivalent in the second quarter.
This is amid broader trends that indicate recovery in terms of fleet utilisation levels in February.
Asia-Pacific’s single-aisle fleet utilization has stabilized around 12% below 2019-equivalent levels, while the twin-aisle fleet has continued its recovery to 24% below same benchmark.
For China alone, the single-aisle fleet has surpassed the February 2019 equivalent by 7%, while the twin-aisle fleet is just 16% down.
Learn more about Tracked Utilization and Cirium Schedules.