The UK is the second largest outbound air passengers market to Asia in Europe, after Germany. Passengers traffic between Germany and Asia topped in 2015 over 8.3 million, up by 8% over 2014. UK followed last year with 6.81 million travellers up by 4% over 2014, according to the latest data released by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
Looking more precisely at ASEAN-UK traffic, total passengers’ movements between 2014 and 2015 went up by 4.95%, generating 2.83 million passengers. UK-Singapore is one of the busiest route, due to traditional links between both countries but also due to the fact that Singapore still remains a transfer hub to Southeast Asia and especially Australia/New Zealand. Singapore Airlines serves all large State capitals in Australia as well as Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand. Singapore is further poised to strengthen its position of a transfer hub with the addition on September 21 of direct flights to Australian capital Canberra and New Zealand capital Wellington.
In 2015, UK-Singapore total passengers reached 1.26 million, making the route the second busiest in the Far-East, just after Hong Kong. Singapore is followed by Thailand and Malaysia with a similar volume of over 600,000 passengers a year. Both markets grew by almost similarly, Malaysia being up by 6% – stimulated by the new non-stop route London-Kuala Lumpur by British Airways- while passengers from and to Bangkok went up by 5%.
In the last five years, London gained more flights to Southeast Asia with the return of Garuda Indonesia and Philippine Airlines while Vietnam Airlines started linking Ho Chi Minh City to London back to 2011. London is served by seven ASEAN carriers. Garuda Indonesia return at the end of 2014 and the transfer of flights from London Gatwick to Heathrow at the end of last year stimulated passengers’ demand. The Indonesian carrier saw the number of total passengers jumping by almost 150% in just one year. The traffic between the UK and Vietnam passed last year for the first time the 100,000-passenger mark, up by 16% over the previous year.
Over the next years to come, it is likely that a new route will link London to Yangon in Myanmar, reviving another traditional air link. British Overseas Airways Corp. used to fly directly the route until the early 1960s.