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The outlook is strong for travel in Asia; China’s internal expansion is set to continue and the travel industry is more disruptive and disrupted than ever before. Those were the key takeaways from the CAPA Asia Aviation Summit 2015 in Singapore (other than the panels were too male dominated and the air-conditioning was freezing cold!):
The market outlook for Asia is good.
LCCs are leading the way and in Asia they dominate aircraft order books. The current LCC fleet in Asia is 600 with an order book of 1235, so most are growth orders, rather than replacements. LCCs account for 34% of the total fleet in Asia, but 80% of new aircraft orders. LCCs in North Asia are now starting to grow from a small base with innovative carriers such as Spring (China), Peach (Japan) and JeJu Air (Korea) leading the way.China’s international expansion will continue.
Outbound travel from China is the key driver of this growth. Last year saw a 40% increase in passengers on Chinese airlines flying internationally. 10 of the top 15 Chinese airlines are using wide body aircraft, so they’re targeting the international/long haul destinations. In fact, the current 110m outbound passengers from China are predicted to increase to 200m by 2020.Disruption is impacting the travel industry at an ever-increasing pace.
The industry is looking at disruption to enhance the customer experience to make it more seamless, connected and intuitive. What came through very clearly in more than one panel discussion is that customer-centric, actionable data is one area that can and will improve the customer experience the most. Another area of technology impacting travel that was discussed included mobile, with travellers moving from being ‘mobile first’ to ‘mobile only’. Perhaps more surprising were the discussions around robots, drones and virtual reality which were all cited not only as disruptors, but drivers of improved customer experience, which is one thing that everyone agreed was paramount.The Traveller Experience
will improve through ecosystem collaboration. Many industry players, from OTAs to airports, to airlines as well as the technology that works in the background to connect everything, need to work more closely together to deliver a better travel experience. This final panel discussion, which Amadeus’ Gianni Pisanello participated in, explored the traveller experience and was particularly great for me to hear as it is something that Amadeus has been talking a lot about in 2015, having introduced the concept of the Age of Traveller Power at the start of the year. We then followed this up with our Traveller Tribes 2030 survey and our Travel Lounge video series. So it was extremely affirming to see the industry converging on a topic that Amadeus believes in very strongly as CAPA 2015 came to a close.
Looking forward to 2016, I can only hope that the industry continues to collaborate to improve the traveller experience, that we see more women on panels, and that the air-conditioning is turned up a little!