Ongoing tight travel restrictions in many Asia-Pacific countries have
muted the impact of the US border reopening on the transpacific travel
But a trio of airline executives who participated in a CAPA Centre
for Aviation panel in November are bullish about the medium- and
long-term outlook for reconnecting Asia and the US.
"The demand will come back," said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines.
Speaking during the CAPA Live panel, Catlin noted the robust
improvements in travel from the Europe market now that the US is once
again welcoming Europeans tourists.
"I am confident that once Asia reopens we'll see a similar dynamic," he said.
While the world has recently discovered the new Omicron
variant of the coronavirus, President Biden has not issued a stop to the
transpacific corridor, although new tighter safety measures include
mandating inbound international passengers to undergo Covid-19 tests
within a day of departure, regardless of vaccination status.
India, Cambodia and Thailand are among the Asia-Pacific countries that
are taking significant steps toward normalising international travel —
also showing a quiet resolve to continue recovery efforts rather than
shutting down economies again. However, most of the region continues to
impose quarantines and various forms of travel bans.
a result, connectivity between the US and Asia remains low. United
Airlines, for example, plans to fly just 28% of its pre-pandemic
Asia-Pacific schedule in December, said Walter Dias, the company's
director for China, Korea and Southeast Asia sales. However, United will resume US-Singapore flight services in January 2022, starting with a four-times weekly schedule.
doesn't fly to Asia. But the carrier codeshares with American, and its
home base of Seattle is a major transpacific business hub.
Catlin said he is optimistic that American will launch planned routes
from Seattle to Shanghai and Bangalore, India, during the second half
of next year, but the decisions will depend upon restrictions.
Akihide Yoguchi, Japan Airlines' vice president of strategy research
for the Asia and Oceania regions, said that the prospects of a recovery
would be helped if governments would align their rules. He said
representatives of the Asian aviation industry need to make their voices
heard on that issue.
Dias pointed to Singapore's Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) programme
as a positive example in the region. Under the programme, vaccinated
foreigners can enter the city-state without quarantine when they arrive
on designated VTL flights.
hoping that some of the other governments in the region will look to
that model to kind of work with the industry to reopen the air flights,"
Dias predicted that international business traffic will reach full recovery in the next three to five years.
Source: Travel Weekly