Global airline capacity was positive again this month, with a 6% increase in the total number of seats. Worldwide, there were 311.7 million scheduled seats available in December, reports OAG, the global leader in aviation intelligence. Over the last ten years the number of available seats, worldwide, has increased 40%, growing most years; the number of flights has increased 24% during that same period. This and additional data is reported in the monthly OAG Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics (FACTS) report.
“Passenger confidence is growing, along with the economy, and while some regions’ growth, like the Americas and Europe, are mirroring the modest improvements in the economic environment, many are growing at a striking rate. Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East all continue to show a large appetite for air travel,” said Peter von Moltke, Chief Executive Officer, UBM Aviation.
Regional increases over the past decade include a 130% increase in capacity, and 140% increase in frequency in travel to and from Africa; and increases of 176% in capacity, and 188% in frequency in the Middle East. Travel to and from Asia Pacific increased 88% in capacity, and 109% in frequency; and travel to and from Europe from 72% in capacity and 82% in frequency. (Additional frequency and capacity growth figures are available in the December Executive Summary).
Although Europe’s growth during the past decade isn’t quite as impressive as other regions of the world, it is strong. Seat capacity and frequency to and from Europe were robust in December, both increasing 11%, over the same period last year. The total number of seats available is 23.7 million, or an increase of 2.3 million, year-over-year; with 104,894 flights (a 10,285 increase).
Recent incremental improvements in the global economy are having a noticeable impact on passenger demand for travel with positive growth in all regions of the world, with the exception of travel to and from the Americas.
Double-digit increases were also experienced in capacity to and from Africa (11%), Asia (12%) and the Middle East (13%). In fact, all of these regions have seen growth in the number of scheduled seats for ten consecutive years.
“While load factors and fares have remained relatively strong in the economic recovery process, it is hoped that airlines continue to add capacity strategically and with prudence in mind, with fuel prices likely to rise next years and other recessionary factors impacting the industry, demand for air travel could be severely tested,” said John Grant, Senior Vice President, Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM Ltd).
A hub analysis shows that Delhi (DEL) has seen an impressive 22% increase in the number of seats and 20% increase in flights. This growth comes as a result of the new Terminal 3 facility at the airport and concerted efforts of Air India, and other national carriers to develop a hub operation.
Most European hubs have also seen positive growth in capacity, including Berlin Tegal (TXL) and Copenhagen (CPH) both increasing 13%, Barcelona (BCN) by 11% and Amsterdam (AMS) by 10%, while Athens (ATH) lost 11% in seat capacity