Skift Take

The fact that the most traveled domestic routes for 2020 were all in Asia reflects some sort of success in containing Covid-19 on the continent despite continuing challenges.

Last year was the worst ever in the history of the aviation industry as the pandemic ravaged global travel. The 1.8 billion passengers who flew last year represented a 60.2 perfect decrease compared to the 4.5 billion in 2019, while the industry’s net losses were $126.4 billion in total, according to the International Air Transport Association.

However, several domestic air routes in saw significant jumps in passenger numbers for 2020. In fact, the top five domestic air routes globally last year were all located in Asia, as seen below.

Three of the five most traveled domestic air routes for 2020 were based in China, which became the world’s largest domestic market for the first time on record last year. China’s success is also reflected by the fact two of the top five airlines in terms of total scheduled passenger kilometers were Chinese — second-ranked China Southern Airlines and fifth-ranked China Eastern Airlines.

But while two of the aforementioned Chinese domestic routes saw passenger traffic increase by more than 40 percent in 2020, the Asian domestic route that experienced the biggest jump was in Vietnam: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The route between the two cities saw a roughly 54 percent rise in passengers from 2019, and the 5.9 million travelers who flew between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City last year placed the route just behind Korea’s Jeju and Seoul Gimbo Airport as Asia’s — and the world’s — most traveled domestic route of 2020.

​“(Last year) was a year that we’d all like to forget. But analyzing the performance statistics for the year reveals an amazing story of perseverance,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.


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Tags: air travel, airlines, asia, coronavirus recovery, iata

Photo credit: An Air Asia plane at the Macau International Airport Melvinnnnnnnnnnn / Wikimedia Commons

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