Low-cost carriers are expanding their footprints across Asia, with millions of extra seats being rolled-out across the region in 2013.
The is the major finding of a new report from Amadeus, which monitored the availability of air seats in the first half of the year on its Amadeus Air Traffic solution.
Globally, LCC seat capacity increased 6.8% in the first six months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. But this growth was found to be fuelled by the growth of budget airlines in Asia, which added 28% more in capacity in the first six months of 2013, reaching 129m seats.
Low-cost carriers in Indonesia increased their capacity by 12.3 million seats in the six-month period, while strong growth was also seen from LCCs in India (+ 3.0m seats), Thailand (+ 2.0m seats) and Malaysia (+ 1.8m seats). Combined, these four countries were responsible for half of global total of LCC capacity growth.
In terms of cities, Jakarta saw the strongest LCC capacity growth of any capital, increasing 44% (+2.8m seats), closely followed by Bangkok, which expanded 30% (+1.2m seats). Kuala Lumpur (15%, +1.0m seats) and Singapore (17%, +800,000 seats) also saw double-digit growth.
In addition, the heavily developed Tokyo market also saw a significant increase in LCC seat capacity, although AirAsia Japan has since pulled out of this market.
“We see a natural boom in LCC capacity across Asia, where point-to-point air travel is largely underserved. However, across the mature markets of Europe and North America capacity is constrained, which may explain why some LCCs are considering new approaches to secure future growth,” explained Alexandre Jorre, an LCC specialist at Amadeus.
“With a 25% year-on-year rise over the first half of 2013, LCC bookings in Amadeus are growing significantly, which is a very encouraging sign that our ability to adapt to LCC distribution needs is proving attractive to both travel agents and airlines,” he added.
Globally, London still offers the most low-cost air seats (14.8m), followed by Sao Paulo (10.2m), Jakarta (9.4m), Kuala Lumpur (8.2m) and Las Vegas (7.5m).