Higher airfares, longer flight times, more time to kill waiting for
connecting flights. The plight of the Asia Pacific-Europe traveller is –
in a word – frustrating.
To a large extent the war in Ukraine is to blame. The closure of
Russian air space to many airlines has resulted in an increase in costs
and flight times between Europe and Asia Pacific.
the year following the start of the war, average airfares between
Europe and Asia Pacific were 20% higher than before the pandemic in 2019
and 53% higher than last year, ForwardKeys data shows.
Higher airfares have also been influenced by the late reopening of Asian destinations.
On flight times, 37% of air traffic between the two continents now
takes more than eight hours, up from 23% before the invasion. Routes
that have been worst affected include those between Japan and South
We expect Chinese airlines will be another winner as they are still flying through Russian air space; and that gives them a competitive advantage in flight times and fuel costs on routes between Europe and Asia Pacific.– Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys
But the pain for passengers doesn’t end there? ForwardKeys figures
show that the share of short transfers (meaning less than two hours) has
decreased from 44% in 2019 to 37% in 2023.
But not everyone is unhappy. Longer waiting times in the transfer
lounges means travellers have more time to shop now that airport
operations are running more smoothly.
“Besides, many of them also tend to plan a bit more time at the
airport before departure to avoid bad surprises,” ForwardKeys notes.
Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, said, “The greatest impact
on air travel to and from Russia since the invasion of Ukraine last
February has been war-related sanctions, which have particularly
benefitted Turkey and the Middle East, as they have maintained direct
flights to and from Russia.
“We expect Chinese airlines will be another winner as they are still
flying through Russian air space; and that gives them a competitive
advantage in flight times and fuel costs on routes between Europe and