Asia-Pacific airline recovery held back by slow vaccination, border closures

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By Judson Rollins


July 5, 2021, © Leeham News: The passenger air travel recovery from COVID-19 has been wildly uneven, even between neighboring countries. Most countries with large domestic markets have seen dramatic rebounds in passenger volumes, although yields have been held back by a continued slump in long-haul and business travel.

Aircraft parked at Hong Kong International Airport, with construction on a third runway in the background. Source: Bloomberg.

In the Asia-Pacific region, however, even short-haul international traffic has been disrupted by virus outbreaks, a painfully slow vaccine rollout, and a largely stagnant web of border closures.

  • Much of Asia is well behind global average in the vaccine rollout.
  • Domestic markets in China, Australia, and New Zealand are performing strongly.
  • Border closures continue to cripple international travel.
  • Many Asian countries are likely to stay closed well into 2022.
  • Most Asian airlines are reporting slow progress toward capacity restoration.

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