In an ideal world, airlines should fly directly people from one destination to another without forcing them to look for a connection or change planes. However, not all the routes passengers dream of have sufficient potential to be flown with non-stop frequencies. Many routes, although showing a large number of potential passengers, would not necessarily be profitable for carriers due to low yields. Although, other groups of passengers would favour one-stop flights often for better price deals.
OAG Aviation Worldwide which analyses traffic flows and airlines/airports data looked at the 50 most underserved markets in 2015. Where there were significant volumes of passengers travelling between two airports via a third point (indirect traffic) OAG considered this market to be underserved as there is potential for new, direct air services. This could then be the case for already existing routes which would however have a sizeable number of passengers transiting through another airport.OAG explains also that various restrictions such as bilateral air agreements, aircraft’s availability in airlines’ fleets might also be deterrent to establish new routes or expand capacities.
There were 7.5m one-stop bookings on the Top 50 underserved international routes. Eight of the routes had no non-stop scheduled air services in 2015, so indirect routings were the only way to fly between the airports. According to OAG research, there is no typical underserved route in the Top 50 ranking; some are long routes
connecting distant airports which may be unserved or underserved because there is no right aircraft to operate the route. Other routes are much shorter, at just over 1,000km. The routes connect airports in 26 different countries but Asia is prominent in the listing.
From the 50 top underserved routes, 22 are involving in Southeast Asia, with Thailand and Manila being the most demanded destinations. From Bangkok, they were eight destinations considered as underserved, followed by Manila with four destinations. Then come Denpasar, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Phuket with two routes each. All these underserved routes represents an opportunity for new airline services and airport route development priorities.
Interestingly, from the 21 routes listed by OAG in ASEAN, only five were not served in 2015 -and still are not benefiting from those connections this year. It is also a surprise to see that both Bangkok-Paris and Bangkok-London Heathrow remain underserved despite being served by many daily flights from respective national carriers. Bangkok-Paris recorded 154,000 bookings in 2015 on a non-stop flight compared to 239,000 bookings with one-stop routing. For Bangkok-London, they were 358,000 booking on non-stop flights but also over 230,000 bookings for a one-stop flight between both cities. There is also a high demand for more flights between Manila and the Gulf area as well as to the USA, despite services already exist for all routes listed in OAG Top 50 underserved routes.
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