Asia Pacific is the second most important intercontinental region for European airlines, accounting for almost 15% of their total ASKs in 2019. For those operating on Asia Pacific routes, the region was a fifth of their ASKs. This gives a reasonable indication of the revenue importance to European airlines of Asia Pacific, second only to the North Atlantic among long haul markets.

COVID-19 has depressed all long haul demand even more than short haul. This is particularly bad news for European airlines, as they have a greater percentage of ASKs on long haul than North American and Asia Pacific airlines. Within long haul, Europe-Asia Pacific has been even harder hit than the North Atlantic.

Not surprisingly, the big legacy airlines had the most pre-crisis capacity to Asia Pacific among European operators. Among non-Russian operators, Finnair had the highest exposure as a percentage of its ASKs, while Air France-KLM and Lufthansa Group had a bigger exposure than IAG.

Europe-Asia Pacific accounted for 14.7% of European airline ASKs in 2019

In 2019, Europe-Asia Pacific routes accounted for 14.7% of ASKs for European airlines (just behind the North Atlantic, which accounted for 16.2%), according to CAPA calculations on data from OAG Schedules Analyser.

Europe-Asia Pacific is more important to European airlines than it is for Asia Pacific airlines, for whom the route region accounted for 9.9% of ASKs in 2019.

Europe's airlines have greater long haul exposure than North American and Asia Pacific airlines

This highlights the broader point that airlines based in Europe are more exposed to long haul than those based in the other major aviation regions.

Fewer than half of ASKs for European airlines were on routes within Europe in 2019.

By contrast, two thirds of North American airlines' ASKs were within North America, and almost four fifths of Asia Pacific airlines' ASKs were within Asia Pacific.