While airlines in North America and Europe are struggling to stay afloat due to poor economic conditions and high oil prices abroad, airline carriers in Asia are flourishing. Increased individual liberties, the rise of the affluent middle class, and booming economic growth in China and Japan are leading to a rapid growth of airline projects in the Far East.
Expanding middle classes in growing nations such as China and India are causing a major influx of airline expansion. Affluence levels in these countries are causing middle classes to inflate to a magnitude that the world has never seen. Changing legislation and new policies are also driving plans for new airlines to open in the region. Many people that have not been able to fly before now have the capability to fly due to less strict laws. There is a shifting demographic of customers; from business travelers in the past to much more leisure travelers in the present.
Growing economies in countries like China, Japan, and India are leading to huge growth in many industries in the Asian region. In the future, Asia will play a much larger role in the global economy and their airline industry is sure to succeed due to this development. The Asia-Pacific region is already the most profitable in the air transport sector. Experts predict that Asia-Pacific airlines will make a combined profit of $2.1 billion this year, more than half of the global total for 2011.
Hong Kong has become the busiest business and shipping hub in the world. This has caused a great increase in traffic at the city’s airport. A third runway at the Hong Kong airport is being constructed to relieve some traffic. The Asian airlines are already some of the busiest in the world; China Southern and China Eastern are now top 10 airlines in the world in terms of passengers flown.
There is still immense room for growth in Asian markets, the proportion of people in the region that travel by flight is extremely low compared to the worldwide average. There are estimates that only 3% of people in China fly, compared to 15% in the U.S.
Unless the global economy topples into a double-dip recession, it appears that the enormous growth of Asian airline carriers will continue into the foreseeable future.