Europe – Asia to become 100 million seat market in 2018 as non-stop capacity hits new heights

Air passenger flows between Europe and Asia have been altered significantly by the rise of the Gulf carriers and their attractive fares and convenient schedules to via the likes of Abu Dhabi Dubai, Doha. But still there has been a growth in non-stop connectivity between Europe and Asia, and this year the market will grow beyond 100 million annual two-way seats, based on current published schedules from OAG.


Summary:

  • System seats between Europe and Asia have grown at an average annual rate of +4.7% this decade with year-over-year growth reported in every year;
  • Last year (2017) Europe – Asia capacity grew +7.3% and this year are expected to grow +5.0%, boosting two-way seats to over 102 million for the year;
  • North East Asia has been the fastest growing market with capacity to and from Europe up +57.4% this decade, rising +8.4% year-over-year in 2017 and forecast to grow +6.2% in 2018;
  • The South Asia – Europe market grew +6.7% last year and is forecast to rise +8.7% this year, while the South East Asia – Europe market saw capacity growth of +4.7% in 2017 and is expected to see two-way seats increase +6.8% in 2018.

Analysis by The Blue Swan Daily of OAG’s schedule data shows two-way system seats between Europe and Asia have grown at an average annual rate of +4.7% this decade with year-over-year growth reported in every year. Last year capacity levels grew +7.3% to more than 97 million seats and this year are expected to grow again at a rate faster than the average for the decade, with the forecasted +5.0% rise boosting seats to over 102 million for the full year.

It is no surprise to learn North East Asia has been the fastest growing market with capacity to and from Europe up +57.4% this decade, rising +8.4% year-over-year in 2017 and forecast to grow +6.2% in 2018. This market is heavily influenced – and the numbers perhaps clouded – by domestic links between the European and Asian regions of the Russian Federation, however, when you remove Russia from the analysis the rate of growth this decade rises to +61.1% with growth last year of +6.7% and forecasts of a +8.9% rise for 2018.

The more mature markets in and out of Europe from South Asia and South East Asia have also seen strong annual growth, up +16.7% and +18.2% this decade, respectively. The South Asia – Europe market grew +6.7% last year and is forecast to rise +8.7% this year, while the South East Asia – Europe market saw capacity growth of +4.7% in 2017 and is expected to see two-way seats increase +6.8% in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Central Asia – Europe market, the smallest in scale, but growing notably this decade at a +49.7% rate has seen recent annual ups and downs. After a -3.8% decline in capacity in 2016, it rebounded to grow +5.3% last year, but is forecast to again decline by an estimated -7.7% in 2018, based on current published schedules.

CHART – After a decline in the late 2000s, system seat capacity between Europe and Asia has been on the rise, growing by more than a quarter since the start of the decadeSource: TheBlue Swan Daily and OAG