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APAC region records 9.6 per cent growth in international air travel in 2018, ForwardKeys data

International air travel increased by 5.9 per cent in the last year, with the APAC region witnessing the most robust growth at 9.6 per cent, as per a data published by ForwardKeys.

While air travel increased in almost every part of the globe, there were considerable regional variations. The 9.6 per cent rise in the APAC region was over three times robust compared to the weakest performer – the Middle East, where international air travel increased by 2.8 per cent.

The second-best performing region was Europe, where international air travel increased by 5.8 per cent. International air travel from Africa increased by 5.2 per cent and from the Americas by 4.4 per cent.

The surge in the APAC region was powered mainly by rising travel within the region. Domestic travel increased by 14 per cent and departures between APAC countries increased by 9.6 per cent, while intercontinental departures increased by 4.5 per cent.

Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights at ForwardKeys stated that the increase in the global air traffic within the APAC region is a direct result of rising disposable incomes, urbanization, and more dynamic lifestyles. He added that as the middle classes of major urban centres, particularly in China, have more income and an increasing liking for travel, they choose to use air travel more often, at first within their own continent and then to other continents.

European air travel increased at nearly the same rate as the international average, which increased 7 per cent, rose faster compared to trips to the other parts of the globe.

The Middle East recorded the highest growth of intercontinental departures from Europe, at 5.8 per cent, facilitated by the lessening of security concerns with regard to Egypt.

The trend in the Americas was in the opposite direction. There, the increase in travel to other continents, at 7.1 per cent, outshined the growth in domestic air travel, which increased by 4.0 per cent, and the surge in travel between countries, which rose by 3.2 per cent. Helped by various new routes such as New York to Nairobi, Africa was the rapidest-growing destination for travellers departing from the Americas, an increase of 8.5 per cent.

In Africa, surge in domestic air travel remained negative, a decline of 0.9 per cent, however, the surge in global air travel to other African countries was robust, an increase of 6.6 per cent, and growth in travel to other continents, where the primary trading partners of Africa are situated, was more robust still, an increase of 7.8 per cent. Highlights included departures from Africa to the Middle East (+6.9 per cent), Asia-Pacific (+7.7 per cent), and Europe (+9.3 per cent).