DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
May 18, 2024
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As markets recover from the pandemic, domestic travel has recovered globally. The chart below lists domestic air travel in the regions we define as Tier 1. The slump is apparent, as is the recovery.  The key challenge was to see how these domestic markets could connect globally.


The US-China market was slow to reopen.  As the following chart illustrates, a growing market took a big hit.  The following chart lists the major country Asian markets, providing relative context.

US DoT T 100

As the chart demonstrates, reopening Japan allowed a rapid recovery.  A slow China reopening has allowed India to become a larger market.  The following table lists the traffic flow by the top 15 airlines from the US to China.

US DoT T 100

This brings us to where we are today. The data used so far provides a helpful perspective, but it’s dated. We, therefore, turn to the I-92, which has data through February 2024. There is no official US traffic data that is more current.

I 92 AirInsight

The upper chart shows that non-US citizen traffic is the majority. This is important because it impacts airline selection. This is a subtle but crucial issue because Asian perceptions of service compared to US perceptions are very different. Even from Hawaii, these flights qualify as long haul, and service is a factor. For an equal price point, you invariably get a better service experience on an Asian airline.

The lower chart shows that, as one would expect, foreign carriers do better in the market than US-flag careers. Therefore, it is significant that the US has allowed Chinese airlines to boost US flights to 50/week. Each side used to have rights to 150/week before the pandemic. Airlines for America “supports the U.S. government’s approach to slowly, gradually, and reciprocally reopen the market with China. It’s imperative the U.S. government maintains this approach.”

Reopening the market slowly, gradually, and reciprocally is fine, but it does not seem to favor US carriers. Normalizing is excellent for travelers.

author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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