OAG (Official Airline Guide) has revealed that the world’s airlines - including low cost carriers - scheduled a record 29.6 million flights (29,560,246) during 2007, an increase of 4.7% on 2006.
This represents an average of 80,987 individual take-offs per day worldwide.
The increase is the highest since 2004, which showed a year-on-year rise of 5.3% over 2003 figures, following 2 years of negative growth as a result of 9/11 and the SARS crisis. Global capacity for 2007 was up 6.1% year-on-year to 3.5 billion seats (3,495,955,781). This equates to enough seats for 9.6 million people to fly every single day.
Analysis of the global growth by region shows that the number of flights within North America grew by 2.4% to 11.1 million flights; Europe showed a 5.8% growth to 6.9 million flights, and Asia/Pacific figures rose by 6.8% to 6.1 million flights.
New Route Development
According to OAG’s global schedules database the world’s airlines introduced 3,732 new or re-instated services during the year, up from 2,856 in 2006 representing an increase of 31%.
Of the new routes introduced in 2007, ranked by number of flight operations, the top spot was taken by the domestic service between Shanghai Pudong International (PVG) and Wuhan (WUH) in China with 8,119 flights.
All of the top 20 new non-stop routes in 2007 in terms of volume of flights were domestic services, with eight in Thailand, seven in the United States; two in China; and one each in the UK, Spain and Nigeria.
The most frequently operated new international route in 2007 was between Rome Ciampino (CIA) in Italy and Madrid Barajas (MAD) in Spain with 1,220 flights operating during the year. Europe dominated the rankings with 14 of the top 20 new international routes operating to/from and within this region.
Alan Glass, CEO of OAG, said, “Facts prove reality and OAG’s overview of 2007 reveal that the airlines saw global demand for air transport at an all time high and growing at record rates - even in mature markets such as North America. The growth in new or reinstated routes during the year was more than 30%, an exceptional year-on-year increase. We have yet to see the impact of Open Skies between Europe and North America, so this upward trend in flight operations and seat offer looks set to continue in 2008.”
Low Cost Sector
The world’s low cost carriers scheduled 4.6 million flights in 2007 (4,588,076), a year-on-year increase of 20.1%. As with all scheduled passenger flights, this was the largest year-on-year growth since 2004.
When OAG looks at this sector’s growth regionally, the analysis reveals a year-on-year rise of 7.1% to 2 million low cost flights within North America; a 26.7% increase to 1.4 million low cost flights within Europe; and a 39.2% rise to 0.7 million within Asia/Pacific.
Alan Glass commented, “If this trend continues, then it’s quite likely that within two years Europe will equal North America in low cost volumes, a scenario we would not have contemplated even five years ago.”
Low cost operations during 2007 represented 16% of all flights worldwide and 19% of all seats offered globally, up from 14% and 17% respectively in 2006. Within Europe, the low cost sector accounted for 20% of all flights operating within this region during the year, while in North America this was 18% and in Asia/Pacific 12%.