AviationRestless travellers are swiftly boosting passenger numbers at airports across Asia – except perhaps Hong Kong.

Asia's once busiest airports get busy again

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Changi Airport becomes busiest air hub in Asia.
Changi Airport becomes busiest air hub in Asia. Photo Credit: Cheryl Teo

If any further evidence were needed that travel is bouncing back, Singapore Airlines’ traffic figures for July are a revelation.

SIA group passenger load factor (PLF) in July reached a new pandemic-high of 87.4% (+1.9 percentage points month-on-month and +71.1 percentage points year-on-year).

This is the second highest monthly PLF in the SIA Group’s history, just short of the record in December 2019 when the group recorded a PLF of 87.6%.

SIA said demand for air travel remained “robust” during the peak summer season across every route region except East Asia, “where travel restrictions remain in place in some key markets”.

The group carried more than two million passengers in July, up 7.5% from the previous month. This was the first time that passenger carriage has crossed the two million-mark since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Little wonder then that Singapore Changi Airport emerged as the busiest in Asia in the second quarter of this year ending June, by handling 7.3 million passengers, according to figures produced by consulting firm Sobie Aviation.

The once mighty Hong Kong International Airport has fallen outside the top 10 busiest airports in Asia, with quarantine restrictions placing it off-limits for many travellers.

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi shared the second spot with 3.2 million passengers each in the June quarter. They were followed by Seoul Incheon Airport with 2.9 million and Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 2.6 million.

The busier-than-expected activity is highlighted by TripAdvisor’s latest Seasonal Travel Index which shows Singaporeans bucking global domestic travel trend to travel overseas.

Some 88% say that they plan to travel abroad versus the 12% choosing to go the staycation route.

Most favoured destinations for travellers, TripAdvisor says, are Genting Highlands, Milan, Busan, Perth and Barcelona.

And almost three quarters of travellers have food at the top of their wish list, followed by scenery (63%), shopping (48%), culture (48%) and activities (46%).

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