Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2014 Contents 6 AsianAviation | MAY 2014
There are some interesting things happening
in the Asia-Pacific airline industry in terms of
route development at the moment.
One of most notable trends visible at
Routes Asia in Kuching was the growth of secondary
airports. US hub airports such as Chicago O'Hare
were looking at the likes of Chengdu, for instance.
This would have been unimaginable ten years ago.
Intra-Asian routes featuring at least one and
sometimes two secondary airports are also starting to
develop. Cambodia Angkor Air is planning to fly from
Siem Reap to Phuket, for example. Also in Cambodia,
Sihanoukville Airport is seeking its first international
flight, with prospective airlines including Bangkok
Airways, Malaysia's Firefly and AirAsia Indonesia.
In Japan, Nagasaki Airport is seeking South Korean
LCCs, with one possibility being Air Busan,
China's secondary airports dominate figures from
data provider OAG for Asia-Pacific airports that
have added five or more routes between May 2013
and May 2014.
All this bodes well for the development of a much
stronger regional airline industry, and the likes of
ATR, Bombardier and Embraer will surely benefit
from this. Asian Aviation's June issue takes a closer
look at the region's regional airline industry.
There were also secondary airports from North
America and Europe with stands at the event,
including the UK's Birmingham and Canada's
Edmonton. The former has recently added Biman
Bangladesh to its customer base, while Edmonton is
seeking a direct Asia-Pacific link.
This is another airport that would have struggled to
get a direct link ten years ago, but now with high-
yielding oil and gas industry workers, a large Asian
population and people willing to pay extra for direct
connections, it must have a good chance of getting a
non-stop link to Asia at some point.
Another clear feature of Routes Asia was the
increasing presence of airports in Siberia and Russia's
Far East. This is a market crying out for closer links
to the Asia-Pacific -- at the moment it's not unusual for
someone flying from these regions to somewhere like
Hong Kong to transit through Moscow.
Yakutsk Airport to Moscow Domodedovo is 2,647
nautical miles. This is more than Singapore Changi
to Beijing Capital (2,428 nautical miles). That's
Russia's "Airports of the Regions" had a stand at
the show, and Mongolia's Hunnu Air is seeking to
turn Ulan Bator into a staging post for traffic from
eastern Russia to the Asia-Pacific.
This whole region is developing closer links to the
Asia-Pacific, and again is another relatively untapped
market waiting to happen.
Another recent event, this time in Singapore,
was UATP's Airline Distribution conference. The hot
topic here was IATA's proposed New Distribution
On the surface this is simply an update of
communication language between airlines and travel
agents from EDIFACT to XML. But underlying tensions
have led to a communication breakdown between
IATA and other travel industry stakeholders.
Global distribution system (GDS) providers and
travel agents have tended to placed in the same
camp as inefficient air navigation providers and
government revenue collectors at IATA AGMs.
This was perhaps unfair. For one thing, both
GDS and travel agents have changed dramatically
over the last ten years -- in fact most GDSs now call
themselves IT providers. In any case, this underlying
tension was perhaps one of the reasons that NDC
got off on the wrong foot.
A key difference between this part of the industry
and the likes of ATM and government taxes is that it
adds value through higher yields. Asia-Pacific LCCs
have realised this and are now rushing to sign up
with GDSs and travel agents -- a trend also seen
elsewhere, particularly in Europe.
GDSs, perhaps realising that IATA has bitten off
more than it can chew and acknowledging that the
trade body has been making efforts to get the travel
industry onboard, are showing signs of acceptance
-- perhaps realising that NDC won't be that much of
a threat and in fact could benefit them. NDC needs
aggregators, and, as IATA acknowledges, this role is
currently played by GDSs.
The message from the UATP event was that there is
still work to be done to sell NDC to the travel agent
industry, and provide them with a clear business case
to make use of the new capability. ✈
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APAC comes of age
Another clear feature of Routes
Asia was the increasing presence
of airports in Siberia and Russia s
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