Flights soar despite global warming

9th Oct 2006

World leaders seeking to make political capital from global
warming issues are making little headway with consumers, latest figures from
aviation analysts OAG suggest.  Demand for air travel is at its highest
October level since 9/11.
Worldwide, the number of flights timetabled for this month is three per cent
higher than in October last year.  An extra 70,000-plus services takes the
total to more than 2.4 million, the highest October figure for more than
five years.

Using sophisticated “yield management” systems to predict global travel
patterns, airlines are looking to fill more than 283 million seats this
month, 11 million more than a year ago.

“With every empty seat having a direct impact on aviation revenues, airlines
have become supremely proficient at gauging consumers’ appetite for travel,”
says Duncan Alexander, managing director Business Development at OAG.  “It
would seem that they are better than politicians at judging the public mood.

“In the 21st century, air travel is an economic necessity, not a luxury.
The aviation industry as a whole continues to make enormous efforts to
reduce its impact on the environment, and business and leisure travellers
alike clearly understand and appreciate that fact.”

Ironically, air travel to and from the oil-rich Middle East is showing the
biggest increase.  The number of flights scheduled for the region this month
is 15 per cent higher than it was a year ago.


The number of October flights to and from the Asia-Pacific region is 12 per
cent higher, there are 11 per cent more flights to and from Africa, and the
figure for Europe is nine per cent up on October 2005.

The figures are revealed in OAG’s latest Quarterly Airline Traffic
Statistics, a regular snapshot of airline activity around the world.  OAG
collates data from more than 1000 scheduled airlines, on a daily basis, to
give an overview of anticipated travel demand.

Of the major aviation markets, only the Americas are bucking the global
trend.  The number of October flights to and from the USA and Canada is just
two per cent higher than a year ago, while the number of services to and
from South and Central America has actually decreased by two per cent.

“Our assessment is that this is a product of economics - and, in the case of
North America, of continuing security concerns - rather than a question of a
sudden increase in environmental awareness,” says Alexander.

In national terms, India shows the most dramatic growth in demand for air
travel.  The world’s airlines have timetabled 14 per cent more services to
and from the country but, within India, the number of October flights is up
46 per cent.

Low-cost carriers continue to attract rapidly-growing numbers.  Worldwide,
the number of budget flights on offer this month is 17 per cent higher than
in October 2005.  In the burgeoning internal markets of China and India,
demand for low-cost travel is rocketing - domestic flight operations are up
466 per cent and 254 per cent respectively.


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