Routes Asia 2024 Awards: The Destination And Airline Finalists

Credit: Ocean Driven Media

The Routes Asia 2024 Awards are set to honor excellence in airport and destination marketing, featuring 15 airports, four destinations, and five airlines as this year’s finalists.

The awards encompass six categories, including the Destination Award which acknowledges the assistance destinations offer to their airline partners, and the Airline Award which highlights the collaborative efforts crucial for successful and profitable routes.

Three awards are also on offer for airports, categorized by passenger volume—Under 5 Million, 5-20 Million, and Over 20 Million. Additionally, an Overall Winner will be chosen from the list of winners.

The finalists in the Airport and Destination categories have been evaluated by a panel of airline judges, while the Airline category has been scored by an editorial panel. The winners will be revealed on Feb. 28 at Routes Asia 2024 in Langkawi.

The Destination and Airline finalists are:


Danang Tourism Department, Vietnam

Danang Tourism Department credits Routes Asia 2022 with being instrumental in reestablishing Da Nang's international flight connections. The event not only helped to boost inbound arrivals, but also provided an opportunity for Da Nang to expand its connections with important aviation hubs in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as promote new routes to potential markets in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Securing new routes to destinations in India and the Philippines have been particularly noteworthy. In 2023, the airport welcomed more than 20 airlines operating 16 international routes to/from 13 Asian countries and territories.

Gold Coast Tourism, Australia

In the 12 months to September 2023, the Gold Coast welcomed 12.4 million domestic overnight and daytrip visitors who contributed A$7.1 billion ($4.7 billion) to the region’s economy. New Zealand remained Gold Coast’s largest source market with 144,000 visitors—just 6% below 2019 levels—while the UK was the second largest with 36,000 visitors. The biggest mover and third largest was South Korea with 25,000 visitors, which represents 14% growth compared to pre-pandemic levels. During 2023, Gold Coast Tourism deployed a suite of marketing campaigns domestically to protect its core audience of travelers with children, including a $2.5 million initiative to encourage Queensland residents to support local attractions.

Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam

Sustaining existing routes and increasing seat capacity has been a core focus for Guam Visitors Bureau. The island employs incentives and cooperative marketing with airline and travel partners to achieve this goal, requiring collaboration from various stakeholders such as hotels, ground handlers, government entities, and the community. Reciprocal relationships between private and public entities, exemplified by the support from airline partner Jin Air after Typhoon Mawar, showcase the resilience of Guam's tourism industry. Guam Visitors Bureau implements airline incentive programs tailored to different source markets like Taiwan and the Philippines, while visitor incentive programs and collaborations with travel agents further promote Guam’s attractions.

Japan National Tourism Organization, Japan

Japan National Tourism Organization’s (JNTO) market development strategy encompasses initiatives to promote visitors to regional areas. Collaborating with airlines and travel agencies, including online platforms, it runs campaigns with a focus on key targets like Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand, identified for their high interest in regional exploration and repeat visits. Creative incentive schemes at Japanese airports further incentivizes airlines. Japan's commitment to route development is evident in the launch of 45 new routes with 27 airlines, translating to 5,661 flights and more than 1 million seats. An impressive 184% or more growth in increased frequencies on existing services is projected for 2024.

More News And Analysis From Routes Asia 2024


Cathay Pacific

Cathay Group, comprising Cathay Pacific and HK Express, surpassed the milestone of carrying more than 20 million passengers in 2023, which compares with about 3 million passengers carried during the whole of 2022. The 541% increase in the number of passengers carried was against a 326% increase in ASKs. While many other airlines are reporting a slower-than-expected recovery in mainland China traffic, Cathay has seen healthy demand on its China routes. This resilience can be attributed to Hong Kong's role as a connecting hub linking mainland China to markets like the U.S., since nonstop China-U.S. service remains more than 70% down on 2019 levels.

Air India

Star Alliance member Air India has added five new destinations—Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan Phuket and Vienna—to its network along with 23 international routes. Further international services are planned for 2024. The past 12 months has seen the airline unveil a new brand identity and cabin design, as well as creating a new full-service carrier/LCC engagement framework to align the networks of Air India and Air India Express. Air India aims to invest in routes that hold untapped potential, following thorough market analysis and demand forecasts. Ongoing dialogue and collaboration with partners, including joint planning and development activities, contribute to mutual growth.

Cebu Pacific Air

Collaboration between Clark International Airport and Cebu Pacific saw the restart of the airline’s hub in April 2023, enabling the resumption and launch of 15 domestic and international destinations. Other network successes have included the opening of service between Manila and Da Nang following conversations that started in the Vietnamese city during Routes Asia 2022. The carrier has also introduced a tracking system to monitor performance, enabling the network planning team to better identify potential opportunities for route improvement or proactively address anticipated risks based on performance indicators. Sustainability is integrated into planning through fuel-saving flight plans, while Cebu Pacific aims to integrate blended sustainable aviation fuel into entire commercial network by 2030.

China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines continued to expand its domestic route map and rebuild its international network during 2023 following the reopening of China’s borders. The airline carried 142 million passengers during the year, equivalent to almost 94% of pre-pandemic levels. Domestic capacity was 2.2% higher at 132 million passengers. China Southern’s network growth in 2024 will see the carrier launch its first regular scheduled service to Saudi Arabia, as well as commencing new routes to Almaty, Bishkek, London Gatwick and Tehran among others.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has reinstated services to Chongqing and Xiamen, while subsidiary Scoot resumed flights to Kunming, expanding the group’s operations to 23 destinations in China, just two less than pre-pandemic levels. In the upcoming northern summer 2024 season, SIA plans to increase services to Fukuoka and Nagoya to daily flights, expand Milan operations to four times a week from 2X-weekly, and initiate a 5X-weekly route between Singapore and London Gatwick in June 2024. In the last quarter of 2023, SIA and Scoot carried 9.5 million passengers, a 29.4% year-on-year increase, buoyed by robust demand from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.

Routes Asia 2024

Routes Asia 2024 brings together the network development community from the region ands beyond for the event in langkawi, Malaysia, alongside a conference programme with high-level speakers. Read all the news from Routes Asia 2024.