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The world of route development need not be unduly fearful of Asia’s economic tremors


While Asia’s recent history has been one of strong, sustained growth, news over the past couple of years has not been so positive.


China’s economic slowdown has been felt across the world with markets on the receiving end of sharp losses at the start of the year, although they have since rallied.


The warning lights may not be currently flashing, but economists are continuing to keep a nervous eye on the country.


Of course, no one wants to see a repeat of 2008, but should we really be concerned by some adversity in the industry?


Budapest airport’s CCO Kam Jandu was faced with a major problem when Hungarian national carrier Malév collapsed in 2012.


Just four years later, the airport has not only survived but now offers more destinations with a greater number of airlines (page 20) after learning to cope with the loss of its biggest client.


Similarly, Japan was left facing its own economic and tourism apocalypse after the tsunami of 2011.


However, our report (page 28) shows that in 2015 it received 19.7 million tourists, a 47% increase year-on-year, as visitors flock back to a country that has not only recovered but is now resurgent with the Olympics on the horizon in 2020.


New Zealand too has its own longrunning problems, especially being in such a remote part of the world.


Once again, necessity proves to be the mother of invention as Christchurch Airport’s former network development executive Matthew Findlay explains how the country has come to accept the need for aviation to be part of its overall economic plan (page 39).


John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice, the host of the forthcoming Routes Europe 2016, has also long been a poster child for overcoming adversity. In 2003, the airport was still still living with the legacy of communist rule and was reluctant to sign a commercial agreement with Ryanair in order to bolster its 500,000 annual passengers.


In 2015, it recorded 4.2 million passengers, up 11% year-on-year.


So while China’s ups and downs will continue – and perhaps alarm – they do not mean the route development industry should give up quite yet.


Instead, the best businesses will be looking for opportunities, and exploit them, especially using the platform that Routes Asia 2016 provides.


Edward Robertson

editor, Routes News


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