What’s working; what’s not. Airlines in Asia Pacific

Our summary of traffic results for the leading airlines in Asia Pacific, excerpts from the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, over January-April.


Seat sales at biggest FSAs (full-service-airlines) in Asia Pacific (whole-group results for all), in alphabetical order: Air China +9%; Cathay +2%; China Eastern +10%; China Southern +11%; Japan +3%; Singapore +6%.


Notes (on notable details):


-Air China. International growing almost double the rate of domestic.

-Cathay. Why is the investment world not shouting out Cathay’s bad results? A China-related airline running +2% is unheard of.


The group’s management is living in the past when it ruled Hong Kong’s aviation scene. However, it may get relief when its local rival, Hong Kong Airlines, stumbles. Not only is HKA expanding too fast (a la Norwegian), but it is part of China’s troubled HNA group.



-China Eastern. Unlike Air China, domestic and international growth are in sync.



-China Southern. The biggest of China’s top-3, yet fastest-growing also. Its international business is 20% bigger than for the other two.



-Japan. Domestic is hardly growing but +6% for international is like boom time in the Japan market.



-Singapore. Before, we worried for SAG (Singapore Airlines group), because the main airline looked weak (notwithstanding still-fawning press coverage). SA is still only +2% but it is being pulled along by SAG’s other airlines. That said, Scoot should be higher than its +12%.


Total results were helped by SAG’s Silk +10%. We think Silk should not be folded into SA but reworked as SAG’s low-cost-airline. (See our definitions for full-service-airlines, low-cost-airlines, no-frills-airlines.)



-Others of note: Some surprising falls on international routes. Garuda. And Malaysia is slipping again after returning to growth in 2017 after its two accidents in 2014 (MH370 disappeared flight, MH17 shot down over Ukraine).


And Thai; given that Thailand’s visitor business is doing well, is administrative dysfunction at government affecting Thai’s operational efficiency?



The Fox. Remember, I’m an industry expert in the parallel world.

*Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.