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Global air travel capacity set to surpass yearly flight figures in 2018 and 2019


H1-2024 is forecast to offer +97.9M (+3.5 per cent) more seats, and -2.1M (-5.6 per cent) fewer flights than H1-2019.

Travel offered to both corporate and leisure clients combined is set to surpass the annual travel capacity in 2018 and 2019, that is according to FCM Consulting’s Q4-2023* Quarterly Global Trends Report, citing data from Cirium.

The report also highlighted a key trend that is set to continue for 2024 – more seats with fewer flights. 

“This is a result of fleet configuration changes and shifts in schedules to meet the demand. When carefully planned, this will be favourable to airline operating costs, staffing, airport slots and airport costs,” said Kenji Soh, General Manager, of FCM Travel Southeast Asia.

H1-2024 vs H1-2019:

Seats Flights
Africa +11% +6%
Middle East +7% +4%
North America +7% -7%
LATAM +6% -1%
Asia +3% +1%
Australasia = 0% -2%
Europe -1% -8%

“Q4-2023 closed a milestone year, seeing corporate travel the busiest and least interrupted in over four years. Business travellers became more confident than in previous years and are planning trips in 2024 to both grow their business and connect with clients and colleagues,” Soh said.

“Across the top global corporate airlines, we forecast that the seats offered in 2024 will be two per cent above 2019 and the number of flights offered will be down six per cent.”

“American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic Airways are all forecast to be back over 100 per cent in terms of seats offered when compared to five years ago.”

Airlines in the home markets of China and India lead Asia’s growth. The top Chinese airlines are forecasted to offer 21 per cent more seats in 2024 than in 2019.

“Singapore to Vancouver saw the highest increase in business class airfares which went up by 216 per cent. Singapore to Da Lian saw a 212 per cent increase in business class fares as it is a popular destination amongst business travellers for being one of Northeast Asia’s most important financial, shipping and logistics centres. The top 5 destinations from Singapore were Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Shanghai and Hong Kong in Q4-2023,” added Soh.

In terms of accommodation, the average room rates increased across all regions for 2023, when compared to 2022, with Asia seeing a rise of USD39, the highest globally.

In Q4-2023, Singapore commanded the highest average room rate paid by corporate travellers per night at USD$296, followed by Hanoi at USD$201, Bangkok at USD$184, Manila at USD$174, Jakarta at USD$155, and Kuala Lumpur at USD$145.

“Kuala Lumpur witnessed the sharpest increase of 38 per cent in Q4-2023 as compared to Q3-2023, followed by Singapore at 11 per cent. Jakarta was up by just 1 per cent and Manila remained flat,” concluded Soh.

Despite the increased cost, all regions also saw a lift in occupancy levels year-on-year, with Mainland China – the last major nation to reopen its borders – leaping 34 per cent to have an occupancy rate of 65 per cent, Asia excluding China saw an increase of 17 per cent, and India saw an increase of 1.8 per cent to 70 per cent occupancy level in 2023.



*This FCM Consulting quarterly report draws on global data sourced from FCM Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data for travel from October to December 2023 (Q4-2023). The report uses Cirium aviation schedule data as of 18 January 2024. Airfare pricing variations exclude all taxes.

The hotel average room rate (ARR) quoted is the average booked rate using FCM Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data. Variations in rates booked reflect seasonality, supply, and demand, booking lead times and variations in exchange rates. Unless otherwise stated all fares and rates are reported in US dollars. STR hotel data and content quoted as of January 2024 for the period ending December 2023.


Q4 2023 FCM Consulting Trends Report
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