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Thu, Jan 12, 2012

Global Airline Capacity Grows For 8th Consecutive Month

OAG Data Reveals Beijing Doubled Year-Over-Year Seat Capacity Growth, Japan Has Recovered Seat Capacity To Pre-Earthquake/Tsunami Level

The world's airlines have scheduled 2.883% more capacity on 1.86% more flights in January 2012, marking the eighth consecutive month of growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest statistics from aviation industry analyst OAG. The OAG FACTS (Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics) report for January 2012 reveals that average seats per flight in January total 126, compared to 125 a year ago, in a continued trend of airlines deploying Next Generation aircrafts such as A380s, B777-300ERs or B737-800s, especially in slot-constrained airports.

Regionally, the gap between the Asia Pacific and North America intra-region markets has further widened, with Asia Pacific now recording 39% more intra-region seat capacity compared to North America. Schedule frequency and seat capacity to/from Asia Pacific increased by 7.29% and 6.29% respectively against the same period last year. Also noteworthy is the international seat capacity to/from Japan has been restored to pre- Earthquake / Tsunami level. 'Within Central and South America' was the only region to record double digit year-over-year growth in both schedule frequency and seat capacity, and the Middle East region grew schedule frequency and seat capacity 9.08% and 9.24% respectively. 

On the other end, political instability in Africa contributed to the industry's worst declines, with 'To-From Africa' shedding schedule frequency by 6.58% and seat capacity by 5.69%. Europe again recorded below-par performance, with both inter-region and intra-region schedule frequency and seat capacity development performing below the worldwide average; frequency within Europe declined by 2.11%, while frequency 'To/From Europe' declined 0.57%. Seat capacity within Europe decreased 1.09% but seat capacity 'To/From Europe' increased marginally by 0.18%, possibly due to the bigger aircraft operated by medium- and long-haul carriers from outside the Europe region. The Intra-North America market continued to decline after a marginal rebound in January 2011, with schedule frequency and seat capacity decreasing 3.16% and 2.73% respectively, compared to the corresponding period last year.

"Asia Pacific continues its remarkable growth, and the full recovery in Japan is evidence of the market's strength and a wonderful way to begin 2012. However, the Asia Pacific aviation market faces challenges to maintaining growth due to highly constrained airports in some major hubs, namely Beijing, which is poised to overtake Atlanta as the world's largest airport this year," said John Grant, Executive Vice President, UBM Aviation.

Atlanta remained the largest airport in the world by both schedule frequency and seat capacity, although schedule frequency declined by 3.17% while seat capacity shed 1.51% compared to the same period last year.

In seat capacity terms, Beijing has cemented its position as the second largest seat capacity provider in the world, with 8,449,273 seats offered, a remarkable 4.06% growth over the corresponding period last year.  Beijing is also pulling away from its nearest competitor London Heathrow, almost doubling its seat capacity variance from 323,690 seats last year to 612,732 seats this year.  Beijing is also quickly catching up on schedule frequency, with 2.67% year-over-year growth, the second strongest annual growth rate behind Los Angeles. PEK and LAX are the only two airports that recorded growth in schedule frequency within the top 10 airports globally. In seat capacity terms, Bangkok overtook Hong Kong as the 6th largest seat capacity provider with 14.44% year-over-year growth to 6,329,628 seats, and similarly, Dubai overtook Los Angeles for the 8th position with 12.26% year-over-year growth to 6,245,461 seats.

A more detailed review of OAG FACTS statistics for January 2012 – including information, commentary and charts about specific airports, routes, countries and regions worldwide – is available to download now. OAG FACTS provides a visual snapshot of airline activity around the world, updated monthly. It uses interactive graphs to display 10-year performance trends, sourced from OAG's consolidated database of global airline schedules.

FMI: www.oag.com

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