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-August.


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 +8%; China Southern +12%; Japan +4%; Singapore +11%.


We would include Air Asia, but it is less transparent than others, and publishes only quarterly data – although when it started it promised to be above industry norms. Over a year, the AA group sells about 70mn seats, compared with say 126mn at the region’s largest full-service-airline group, China Southern.


Notes (on notable details):


-Air China. International still stronger, at +15%.


-Cathay. Still too weak; given the pressure to keep air fares low, the group is still looking unprofitable.


-China Eastern. As is becoming common, some of the airline’s figures do not add up. Based on the figures the airline published in 2017 and this year, international grew +1%; the airline’s data shows +11%. We presume the airline is showing the correct data, but for the present, there is some doubt.


-China Southern. Still the fastest-growing of China’s Big-3, with international also still impressively-strong at +18%.


-Japan. International looking good, at +8%.


-Singapore. We have criticised elements of the group’s businessplan over many years – and still do. But now the results are starting to look good. We note that our criticisms were not misguided, but that the group is now doing much of what we proposed – essentially three years after we proposed it.


But we do admit to one surprise – that the core Singapore Airlines is doing so well – +9% for the month, and although YTD +4% is OK, it is not good. Silk Air (the subject of one of our proposals, which is now happening – to merge into the core SA) could be fading because of that planned merge – +5% for the month against +8% YTD.


Scoot (which we said should not have been created, but Tiger expanded instead; that has sort-of happened, although Tiger has been folded into Scoot) looks good with +13% for the month, although YTD is +17%. However, Scoot’s seat factor is only 81% for the month and 86% YTD, although for the low fares and high costs (certainly on those medium-haul routes) it needs to be closer to 90%.


-Others of note: Air Asia YTD is +14%.



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.