EXCLUSIVE: Declining Passenger Numbers Between the EU and ASEAN in 2015

Traffic between ASEAN and Europe is among the most important between both continents, stimulated particularly by high passenger numbers from and to the European Union (EU 28) to Thailand and Singapore. Thailand has now a market share of 39.9% followed by Singapore with 30.8% market share and, far behind, Malaysia with a market share of 14.1%.

The EU—excluding countries such as Norway and Switzerland—was linked last year to seven ASEAN countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). It lost last year a newly opened connection to Cambodia by Air France, as well as regular leisure flights to Myanmar from Germany.

In 2015, total passengers reached 9.78 million, down by 0.24% over 2014. Only two countries showed last year growth : Indonesia-EU passengers flows grew last year by 23% while Thailand also showed a modest growth of 1.1%. However, all the other markets recorded, at best, stagnating figures, and at worst declining numbers. Singapore stagnated last year, down by only 0.1% over 2014 hovering over the three-million passengers’ mark. Malaysia-EU was affected by the reduction in services by Malaysia Airlines last year. The total passengers number was down by 6%, and further erosion in traffic is expected this year as both Air France and Lufthansa pulled out from Malaysia.


EU-Vietnam passenger traffic—the fourth largest in 2015—was also down by 3.4%, to fall below the 700,000-passengers mark a year (due to the weakness of long-haul travel demand in France). Brunei-UK traffic was also down by 8% due to Royal Brunei unadapted product. The airline is still doing a stop-over in Dubai and proposes long connections at its Bandar Sri Begawan hub, making the airline non-competitive compared to other carriers in the region.

In 2016, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines should renew with growth with additional flights, new aircraft, and new destinations in Europe. Singapore Airlines just started flights to Düsseldorf and will fly non-stop to Manchester this winter while LOT is planning to launch regular services to Bangkok out of Warsaw. Malaysia and Indonesia will continue to see declining figures due to a further shrinking in frequencies and capacities to and from Europe. Malaysia could even lose its third position to Vietnam within one or two years time.