If asked, most executives who are familiar with travel trends would likely guess that Asia travel is increasing rather than decreasing. Not only are many Asian countries home to large populations, many Asian cities are also becoming important centers of commerce where American business travelers often visit.
But a new report indicates that passenger traffic through many Asian airports is more than increasing — it’s exploding. What Asian airports are seeing the largest increases in passenger traffic? And what does this spike in Asia travel mean for American companies and their travelers? Read on to learn more about this new report and how this trend affects companies in the United States.
The 20 Busiest Airports of 2017
The Airports Council International (ACI) tracks passenger traffic, and it annually ranks the busiest airports in the world. Here’s a look at the full list of busiest airports of 2017 as measured by passenger traffic:
|10||Paris’ Charles de Gaulle|
At first glance, this list might make perfect sense. It’s littered with some of the biggest (Beijing, Tokyo) and most important (London, Paris) cities in the world, as well as major hubs for commercial carriers, including Atlanta (where Delta is headquartered) and Dallas-Fort Worth (where American is headquartered).
But a closer look at year-over-year shifts indicates that Asia travel is on the rise and that passenger traffic is creeping east into some of that continent’s most heavily populated areas.
China and India See Sharp Increases in Air Travel
The population in many Asian countries is exploding, and Asia travel is exploding along with it. India, for example, is expected to soon surpass the United Kingdom as the third-largest aviation market in the world, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In another sign of the Asia travel boom, the list of 20 busiest airports is missing one important member from 2016 — John F. Kennedy in New York City. What airport replaced JFK on the list? New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which experienced an astonishing 14.1 increase in year-over-year traffic.
China is the other country feeling the effects of an increase in Asia travel. Beijing checks in at No. 2 on the list of busiest airports in the world, which should come as no surprise. But Guangzhou ranks No. 13 on the list after experiencing a 10.3% increase in year-over-year traffic.
Other Chinese airports that saw spikes in traffic last year include Tianjin (24.5%), Nanjing (15.5%), Xi’an (13.2%) and Hangzhou (12.6%). All signs indicate that 2017’s boom in Asia travel is a new trend rather than an outlier. In fact, the IATA is now forecasting China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest aviation market, based on combined domestic and international traffic, in or around 2022. Upping the timeline from their 2024 projection last year
What Does This Asia Travel Increase Mean for American Businesses?
As Asia travel increases, there’s likely good and bad news for American businesses and their team members who travel.
First, the bad news: Increases in travel are likely to mean more crowded airports and more difficulty finding flights and hotels. An increase in visitors to certain countries and cities will always put pressure on supply, which means attractive flights, desirable seats and quality hotels may be harder to secure.
As demand for Asia travel increases, there’s also a chance prices rise with it. Keep an eye on the cost of visiting cities like Beijing and New Delhi in 2018. You may find that the rising cost of doing business in these areas throws off your travel budget.
But there’s also good news. Assuming this boom in Asia travel continues into the future, commercial carriers are likely to establish more routes and more frequent flights to these areas. Countries and cities are likely to invest in their airports, creating more space and more amenities. And, finally, hotel chains are likely to see greater opportunity in Asia and take steps toward establishing new locations.
Navigate Asia Travel With Ease
The world is always changing, and so too is the travel industry. It’s important for companies to stay abreast of change so that they can get the return they expect on investments in business travel. We bring a common sense approach to every product we offer, every service we provide and every recommendation we make.
Contact JTB USA Business Travel about how we can bring a common sense approach to your company’s business travel needs.