News / Asia

Asia’s Aviation Industry Booms

Passengers wait at airline counters at Hong Kong's international airport, Sept. 23, 2013.
Passengers wait at airline counters at Hong Kong's international airport, Sept. 23, 2013.
Ron Corben
Across Southeast Asia, rising incomes over the last decade have been a boon for the aviation industry, and new low-cost passenger airlines are experiencing record growth. Bangkok is experiencing growing pains as it races to build airports and aviation infrastructure, train tens of thousands of new pilots, while keeping safety standards high.
 
In the first eight months of 2013 industry trade groups say more than 138 million passengers were carried by Asia Pacific airlines in the region - a rise of five percent over the last year.
 
Sydney-based Center for Asia Pacific Aviation said this growth is being driven by low cost air carrier companies, which accounted for more than half of all seats in 2012. A decade ago, there were none.
 
Martin Craig, chief executive officer for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said Asia's growing middle class is pushing the demand for travel. 

"This massive increase in intra-Asian tourism and air travel is simply driven by the fact that so many more people are going into the so-called 'middle-class' status with discretionary income and one of the first things they want to spend their hard earned spare cash is on going overseas," said Craig.
 
South East Asia's middle class, now estimated at around 500 million people, is expected to reach as many as 1.7 billion by 2030. But Craig said even these projections may be too conservative.
 
To fly all of those passengers, industry analysts say they will need to train nearly 200,000 pilots.
 
Analysts say the main maturing domestic air travel markets are Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand which collectively have 25 low cost carriers in operation, and more on the way.
 
Industry analyst Brendan Sobie, said Laos, Burma and Vietnam are considered "frontier markets" with huge potential for growth. He said in Vietnam, passenger growth is running in the double digits.
 
"Being a frontier emerging market and having a lot of economic activity in Vietnam - so it has some catch up to do in order to approach some of the other markets in South East Asia - from a growth and low cost penetration standpoint we're starting to see that catching up now taking place and IATA sees Vietnam as one of the three largest growing markets in the world in next few years," Sobie said.
 
In Burma, the number of available seats on passenger planes out of the main airport in Rangoon has roughly doubled in the past two years.
 
As airlines rush to meet the rising demand, analysts say safety needs to be at the heart of the industry. But safety standards across the region remain uneven.
 
Earlier this month a Lao Airlines plane crashed into the Mekong river during a heavy rain storm, killing all 49 people aboard.
 
The passengers and crew hailed from 10 nations, and the crash was the deadliest air disaster for Lao Air since 1954.
 
In Burma in 2012, four aircraft were involved in major accidents. As the country experiences a surge in tourists eager to visit the once-closed nation, some groups are raising alarm that the industry is expanding too quickly. The U.S. State Department has warned travelers to Burma that the air industry’s safety record and oversight remains closed to outside scrutiny.
 
Industry analysts such as credit ratings agency Standard and Poors says there are uneven infrastructure and training standards across the region. In some cases, the pace of development may be outstripping the ability of officials to ensure safety standards and adequate infrastructure.
 
For Center for Asia Pacific Aviation's Brendan Sobie,  the challenge lies in countries ensuring sufficient infrastructure to cope with the rising demand and passenger arrivals. 

"The country and airports that don't invest basically lose out on the traffic to other airports and countries. That of course creates an incentive to invest," he said. "Unfortunately, there's a huge lag; it takes a long time to build an airport and build a runway and build a terminal and what happens is that sometimes the growth is just very rapid, they just get behind the curve and we're seeing some of the governments now racing to catch up to that."
 
With tourism and trade surging in developing countries of Southeast Asia, much is at stake in how governments handle the growth and respond to concerns about safety.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid