In Asia, 2,279 routes aren’t operating any more; airlines focusing on domestic routes.
Airlines are being forced to ruthlessly cut down on routes with the most fragile profit margins. (Photo: supplied)
In January, 47,756 operational routes criss-crossed the world, more than half of them in the US, Western Europe and Northeast Asia. However, by November, the total number of operational routes had reduced by almost a third to just 33,416, Bloomberg reports citing data by OAG Aviation Worldwide. In Asia alone, 2,279 routes are not operating any more at all.
The coronavirus pandemic has effectively wiped off almost a third of the global aviation routes that thrived as a result of a decades-long aviation. Border closures, nationwide lockdowns and the fear of catching Covid-19 from fellow passengers have crippled commercial travel.
Even Australia’s capital, Canberra, has been taken off from international maps. The city has no more direct flights overseas after Singapore Airlines ceased services from Singapore in September.
“It will take a good four or five years for connectivity to return to the same level we saw at the end of 2019,” the report quoted Subhas Menon, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, which represents regional carriers including Singapore Air, China Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways, as saying. “Some of these routes may never be put back,” Menon added.
The aviation sector has been among the top affected following the pandemic. Before the coronavirus, the industry had supported 65.5 million jobs—more than half of them indirectly through tourism—and had a global economic impact of $2.7 trillion, according to the 2019 Aviation Benefits Report, a study by industry groups including UN agency the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
At the same time, many airlines are adding more domestic routes to cater to pent-up domestic demands. In Asia alone, 790 new routes are running this month that didn’t exist a year ago, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.
Airlines are being forced to ruthlessly cut down on routes with the most fragile profit margins, while airlines will try to keep the connections that feed passengers into larger travel hubs.
Cre: The Week
Nguyen Xuan Nghia – COMM