Global air capacity climbs 5% in February
OAG has reported that worldwide scheduled airline capacity increased 5% year-on-year in February to a total of 285.7 million seats. The number of flights increased 4%, to 2.3 million departures worldwide during the month.
In its monthly Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics (FACTS) report, OAG found all regional markets recorded year-on-year growth in February, with the exception of capacity to and from Central and South America. This region lost 3% of its seat capacity, when compared to the same month last year, feeling the impact again this month of the loss of Mexicana services.
Although capacity fell in Central and South America, overall; within Lower South America, scheduled capacity increased 12% year-on-year. The Brazilian market is showing the strongest growth in the region, with a 14% increase in domestic capacity in February compared to the same time last year.
“The current expansion in some South American markets may be at the height of a growth period. The impending rationalization of carriers in the region, and the development of larger alliances such as that proposed by the LAN Group and TAM, could lead to capacity consolidation as network rationalization occurs,” said Peter von Moltke, Chief Executive Officer, UBM Aviation.
Year-on-year, the two fastest growing markets in the world are those to and from the Middle East, and to and from Asia Pacific, in terms of frequency of service. The total number of flights offered to and from the Middle East grew 13% to a total of 49,014; flights to and from Asia Pacific increased 13% to a total of 55,965.
Scheduled frequency and capacity to and from Europe was the second fastest growing region among the largest markets with scheduled capacity increasing by 11%, to a total of 21.3 million seats; frequencies increased 10%, to a total of 93,558. Growth within Europe, however, increased a modest 2% in both seat capacity and the total number of flights to a total of 59.5 million seats and 493,150 flights.
“Medium to long haul carriers continue to build their presence in European markets, with the objective of securing greater shares of the longer haul markets, which traditionally deliver higher yields,” continued von Moltke. “Carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways will continue to increase flights and open new markets as their development progresses, and increased frequencies to a number of European destinations are expected by these airlines throughout the year.”
The number of scheduled services both within and to and from North America remained constant year-on-year, although a slight increase in average capacity per flight resulted in more seats being offered. Total capacity to and from this region increased 3%, to a total of 15.5 million.