Singapore is Europe’s most-served Asian destination; TUI begins flights; London LHR has a third of ASKs

TUI-BHX-SIN

Singapore is one of 101 international airports in Asia-Pacific connected to Europe on a non-stop or one-stop same plane service. This is based on Cirium schedules information data for Q1 2024 (January-March) and having at least four departing flights.

Singapore ranks number one

Examining Cirium schedules data indicates that Singapore ranks number one from Europe regardless of whether seats, Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) or departing flights is considered.

As the figure shows, Singapore’s ASKs remain 6% lower than in Q1 2019, the last fully normal first three months in the pre-pandemic period. While Bangkok has historically been foremost from Europe, the Thai capital’s much slower recovery (-27%) means Changi – which usurped it – continues to rank first.

Comparing data to Q1 2023 is also insightful. While the top 10 Asia-Pacific airports have seen ASKs increase by 43% year-on-year, mainly because of significant jumps by heavily impacted Chinese airports, Singapore has only grown by 5%. In contrast, Bangkok has risen by a fifth, albeit from a much-reduced base.

Top 10 Asia-Pacific markets from Europe

TUI begins Singapore flights

Changi is not just a major Singapore Airlines hub from Europe to Southeast Asia and Australasia, but also a significant point-to-point market. It also sees fifth-freedom fights by British Airways between Singapore and Sydney and Qantas between Singapore and London LHR. And – as in the case of new entrant TUI – for cruises.

TUI began Singapore charter flights from Birmingham and London LGW on 13 December, while Manchester started on the next day. All are served weekly using the 787-8 and run in W23. The arrival of this carrier helps to offset the loss of LOT Polish from Warsaw (May 2018-April 2020) and Norwegian from London LGW (January 2018-January 2019).

Airlines between Europe and Singapore Q1 2024

Athens International Airport

Singapore Airlines has 53% of ASKs

The Star Alliance carrier has more than one in two European ASKs in these three months. It has passenger flights to 12 European airports. While beyond the scope of this article, Brussels will resume on 5 April (4-weekly), while London LGW begins on 21 June (5-weekly). The UK airport was last served by Singapore Airlines’ lower-cost unit, Scoot, on a fifth freedom basis via Bangkok during COVID. Before that, Norwegian operated non-stop.

While British Airways was number two by ASK production in the pre-pandemic Q1 2019, it is now fifth. London LHR departures remain 2-daily – one is a terminator, the other continues to Sydney. But in Q1 2024, only the 777-300ER and 787-9 operate, not the much higher-gauge A380.

Lufthansa is now second with a daily flight from Frankfurt and Munich. It uses 40% higher-capacity equipment than BA, helping with ASK production, rising to 54% more when only its Frankfurt service is examined (747-8).

London LHR has a third of capacity; Istanbul very fast growing

Some 17 airports in 11 European countries have non-stop or one-stop Singapore flights in January-March 2024. (Again, others resume or begin later in the year.) Comparing schedules to Q1 2019 indicates that Düsseldorf, Moscow DME, Stockholm and Warsaw are no longer served. Only Birmingham is new.

With almost a third of capacity, London LHR continues to be very much first. This is partly due to the Anglophone nature of Singapore and strong P2P demand, but also for connections over both hubs. There are 49-weekly flights in January: Singapore Airlines (28), British Airways (14; one continues to Sydney), and Qantas (seven; continues to Sydney).

Istanbul has grown the most of the top 10 markets. It is served 18-weekly: Turkish Airlines (14) and Singapore Airlines (4). Departures have risen from 11 in January 2019 (Turkish has doubled) and from 14 in January 2023 (Turkish had 10-weekly flights).

Top 10 European markets to Singapore Q1 2024

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