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Top-20 unserved routes: Australia-Southeast Asia

Building on World Routes 2019 in Adelaide, let’s look at the top-20 unserved routes from Australia to Southeast Asia. This is the first in a series of articles that will look at unserved routes across countries or regions.  This is done using indirect passengers, growth rate, and average fare.

In 2018, these top-20 unserved routes saw 777,000 indirect passengers, up 4% – or 29,000 – YOY.  Despite many of these routes overflying key hubs – Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok – various opportunities stand out.

Top-20 unserved routes 2018 passengers (two ways) 2017 passengers
(two ways)
% chg. 2018 average fare (USD)* Fare/mile (USD)*
Melbourne-Hanoi 68,092 65,202 4.4% $356 $0.074
Brisbane-Phuket 59,756 60,817 -1.7% $267 $0.061
Brisbane-Ho Chi Minh City 58,975 51,143 15.3% $326 $0.080
Perth-Phuket 58,709 57,783 1.6% $187 $0.063
Perth-Manila 57,816 56,809 1.8% $290 $0.090
Perth-Ho Chi Minh City 46,809 45,579 2.7% $247 $0.082
Melbourne-Phnom Penh 42,554 41,286 3.1% $383 $0.090
Adelaide-Ho Chi Minh City 40,180 36,582 9.8% $297 $0.079
Brisbane-Jakarta 39,970 36,553 9.3% $380 $0.112
Sydney-Phnom Penh 35,014 31,333 11.7% $375 $0.086
Adelaide-Phuket 33,898 34,424 -1.5% $227 $0.057
Adelaide-Manila 31,754 29,139 9.0% $272 $0.076
Adelaide-Bangkok 26,787 26,647 0.5% $317 $0.078
Melbourne-Danang 26,282 20,798 26.4% $362 $0.082
Darwin-Ho Chi Minh City 26,018 28,823 -9.7% $75 $0.033
Sydney-Surabaya 25,387 26,300 -3.5% $249 $0.082
Melbourne-Surabaya 25,025 27,423 -8.7% $269 $0.093
Melbourne-Ko Samui 24,085 22,864 5.3% $360 $0.083
Sydney-Cebu 23,873 23,585 1.2% $178 $0.050
Melbourne-Penang 23,850 22,418 6.4% $310 $0.075

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser. * One-way; USD; excluding taxes; excludes fuel surcharges; and across all cabins.

Unsurprisingly, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are key. This is further highlighted through country-level data, below. From the popularity of Denpasar-Bali for Australians, Australia-Indonesia has almost 2.5m passengers a year. While indirect passengers account for a strong 570,000, they’re fewer than one-quarter of the total.

Australia to/from… 2018 indirect passengers
(two ways)
2018 total passengers
(two ways)
% indirect to
total passengers
Thailand 652,000 1,386,000 47%
Indonesia 567,000 2,482,000 23%
Vietnam 531,000 952,000 56%
Philippines 399,000 839,000 48%
Malaysia 348,000 1,648,000 21%
Cambodia 156,000 0 100%
Singapore 147,000 2,127,000 7%
Brunei 50,000 65,000 77%
Myanmar 46,000 0 100%
Laos 29,000 0 100%
Timor 21,000 48,000 44%

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.

Vocal for Vietnam

In contrast, Vietnam-Australia is relatively underserved, with almost six in ten passengers flying indirectly. With VietJet Air’s 15 coming A321XLRs and assuming  a rough eight-hour radius and singling out just one opportunity, Brisbane-Ho Chi Minh City looks interesting. It is one of the largest unserved markets and it has grown strongly: 15% YOY and a CAGR of 10% since 2014. 

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.

While Brisbane-Ho Chi Minh City has a longer-than-average sector length across these 20 unserved routes, its average one-way fare/mile  – USD0.08 – is slightly above average.

VietJet Air offers connections, so Brisbane-Ho Chi Minh City could feed its Vietnam-wide services. And while VietJet Air tends not to offer many international connections, Brisbane-Ho Chi Minh-Delhi is closer to the great circle distance than Singapore. Brisbane-Delhi is a fast-growing market too.

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.

It’ll be very interesting to see if any of these routes materialise.


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