Global air travel capacity to surpass 2018 and 2019

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MRO DubaiTravel offered to both corporate and leisure clients combined is set to surpass the annual travel capacity in 2018 and 2019, that is according to FCM Consulting’s Q4-2023 Quarterly Global Trends Report, citing data from Cirium.

The report also highlighted a key trend that is set to continue for 2024 – more seats with fewer flights. H1-2024 is forecast to offer +97.9 million (+3.5 percent) more seats, and -2.1 million (-5.6 percent) fewer flights than H1-2019.

“This is a result of fleet configuration changes and shifts in schedules to meet the demand. When carefully planned, this will be favourable to airline operating costs, staffing, airport slots and airport costs,” said Kenji Soh, General Manager, of FCM Travel Southeast Asia.

H1-2024 vs H1-2019:

SeatsFlights
Africa+11%+6%
Middle East+7%+4%
North America+7%-7%
LATAM+6%-1%
Asia+3%+1%
Australasia= 0%-2%
Europe-1%-8%

“Q4-2023 closed a milestone year, seeing corporate travel the busiest and least interrupted in over four years. Business travellers became more confident than in previous years and are planning trips in 2024 to both grow their business and connect with clients and colleagues,” Soh said. “Across the top global corporate airlines, we forecast that the seats offered in 2024 will be 2 percent above 2019 and the number of flights offered will be down 6 percent. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic Airways are all forecast to be back over 100 per cent in terms of seats offered when compared to five years ago.”

Airlines in the home markets of China and India lead Asia’s growth. The top Chinese airlines are forecasted to offer 21 percent more seats in 2024 than in 2019.

“Singapore to Vancouver saw the highest increase in business class airfares which went up by 216 percent. Singapore to Da Lian saw a 212 percent increase in business class fares as it is a popular destination among business travellers for being one of Northeast Asia’s most important financial, shipping and logistics centres. The top 5 destinations from Singapore were Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Shanghai and Hong Kong in Q4-2023,” added Soh.

In terms of accommodation, the average room rates increased across all regions for 2023, when compared to 2022, with Asia seeing a rise of US$39, the highest globally. In Q4-2023, Singapore commanded the highest average room rate paid by corporate travellers per night at US$296, followed by Hanoi at US$201, Bangkok at US$184, Manila at US$174, Jakarta at US$155, and Kuala Lumpur at US$145.

“Kuala Lumpur witnessed the sharpest increase of 38 percent in Q4-2023 as compared to Q3-2023, followed by Singapore at 11 percent. Jakarta was up by just 1 percent and Manila remained flat,” concluded Soh.

Despite the increased cost, all regions also saw a lift in occupancy levels year-on-year, with Mainland China – the last major nation to reopen its borders – leaping 34 percent to have an occupancy rate of 65 percent, Asia excluding China saw an increase of 17 percent, and India saw an increase of 1.8 percent to 70 percent occupancy level in 2023.

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