In another sign of Asia’s rising affluence and a growing middle class, budget airlines are proliferating across the region. As the New York Times reports, new low-cost airlines are sprouting up everywhere, from Singapore to China to Japan, and established carriers are attracting many more passengers:
Just five years ago, Asia-Pacific airlines had a combined fleet totaling 3,800 passenger planes. That number has increased to 5,600, said Corrine Png, head of regional transportation research for JPMorgan Chase in Singapore, who estimated that at least 10 airlines had started in the region in the last decade. She expects the low-cost airline market in the region to grow to $23 billion, or about 30 percent of the overall market, by 2014 from $18 billion now.Beijing could soon overtake Atlanta as the world’s busiest airport in passenger traffic. In 2001, Beijing was not even among the world’s top 30, according to the Airports Council International.“There’s a huge potential driven by economic growth,” said Chris de Lavigne, an analyst at the research firm Frost & Sullivan in Singapore. “Purchasing power is increasing quite rapidly. More and more people can afford to fly.”
Changes in lifestyle, like businesses encouraging their workers to take vacations, as well as Asia’s unique geography (a vast continent full of island countries that can’t be accessed by car) have also contributed to the boom in Asian tourism. And industry experts predict that the surge will continue for at least another 20 years, as the region has only just begun to tap its potential.This is an amazing time to see Asia and learn about it. Asians want to learn English, and Americans can cover their living expenses by teaching and traveling the region on the cheap. Asia will be where this generation has big adventures and discovers a new world.