New analysis from Amadeus Air Traffic Travel Intelligence solution reveals that worldwide air traffic volume grew 5% between 2011 and 2012, with Asia being the largest, fastest-growing and most competitive market for air travel. Asia experienced year over year growth of 9% between 2011 and 2012, followed by Latin America, at 6%.
• Each ‘super route’ carries over 1 million passengers per annum, according to the research.
• Air travel in 2012 was higher than 2011 in all regions of the world with significant growth of 9% in Asia and 6% in Latin America.
• Asia is the world’s most competitive aviation market with 75% of routes served by three or more airlines and just 25% of routes by one or two carriers.
• The Middle East is a rapidly growing hub as shown by traffic volume between Europe and Asia routed via the Middle East, growing by approximately 20% between 2011 and 2012.
• Low Cost Carrier penetration is highest in Europe at 38% and North America with 30%
Among other key findings, the study reveals that 22% of all global air travel is concentrated on just 300 origin and destination ‘super routes’, each of which carries over 1 million passengers annually. Furthermore, 69% of all global air travel is made on major routes with 100 thousand annual passengers.
The analysis also shows Asia as the market with the highest airline competition, 75% of the region’s air traffic is operated by 3 or more airlines and 27% by five or more airlines, making this a region with a very intense competition in all its air travel routes.This contrasts sharply with other regions such as the Middle East and Europe where just half of all air traffic on its routes is operated by three or more airlines
Analysis of the busiest routes in the world by passenger volume shows that seven out of the top ten world’s busiest air travel routes are in Asia. Jeju-Seoul in South Korea remains the world’s busiest air route with over 10 million pax per annum.
35% of air travel in Europe and North America is made on smaller routes with fewer than 100 thousand annual passengers. This contrasts sharply with other regions such as Asia where 85% of air travel is concentrated on routes that carry over 100 thousand passengers each year.
This concentration of Asian air travel suggests the region’s growth may continue as there is an opportunity for airlines to develop secondary links beyond the heavily competitive super routes. In addition, the analysis shows that in Asia, the larger routes with over 100 thousand annual passengers have a 4%-9% growth range, but the smaller and medium sized routes in the region are growing at approximately 19%-21% per annum.
Globally, the airline industry has become consistently more competitive over the past three years. The percentage of air traffic served by just one or two airlines has fallen by 2% each year from 39% in 2010 to 35% in 2012. Concurrently, the percentage of air traffic with four or more competing airlines has also risen consistently from 35% in 2010 to 38% in 2012.
Asia is the market with the highest competition between airlines in the world, with 75% of air traffic volume served by more than 3 airlines and only 25% of air traffic served by one or two airlines.
This contrasts strongly with other regions, for example in Europe 45% of air traffic volume is served by just one or two different airlines and in the Middle East 50% of all air traffic has only one or two competing carriers.
The rise of low cost airlines has been significant over the past decade, but this has been largely limited to traditional markets. Today, Europe has the highest concentration of LCC traffic, representing 38% of total air travel in 2012.
Within specific regions, the spread of LCCs varies strongly. In Europe, Spain has the highest share of departing LCC traffic at 57%, followed by the UK where 52% of all originating air travel is now made on low cost airlines, up 4% from 2011 and passing the 50% milestone for the first time.
The Middle East is becoming an increasingly important global air travel hub. The region’s three key airports of Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi, are all experiencing strong overall air traffic growth of around 10% per annum and they have very high levels of connecting traffic, with each airport seeing around 50% of its total air travel volume connect. These figures demonstrate the region’s increasingly important role as a hub between Europe and the emerging markets of Asia and the South West Pacific.