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OAG Reports Global Airline Capacity Up 4% In December 2009

OAG Reports Global Airline Capacity Up 4% In December 2009

Low Cost Sector Continues to Show Growth with Frequencies and Capacity Up 10%

Global airline capacity for December 2009 shows positive growth compared to December 2008, reports OAG, ( the world’s leading aviation data business with its monthly report on trends in the supply of airline flights and seats. There are 294.8 million seats available this month, a rise of 4% over December 2008 levels. Global frequencies are up 1% compared to December 2008, with a total of 2.4 million flights scheduled for December 2009, despite an average North American frequency decline of 2%. Worldwide, frequencies and capacity in the low cost sector are both up by 10% compared to a year ago, accounting for 444,539 flights (18%) and 65.6 million seats (22%).

John Weber, senior vice president OAG Aviation, said, “Global capacity continues to rise, boosted by worldwide increases in both frequency and capacity in the low cost sector, which would tend to show us that travelers are choosing to fly airlines that offer more economical choices. This increase in December 2009 capacity recovers the global pull-down of minus 10 million scheduled seats in 2008 and brings us back to the pre-crisis level of December 2007, but the characteristics of many markets have fundamentally changed,” Weber continued.

Analysis of major routes reveals that frequency and capacity on certain routes reflect positive growth, while others are showing strong decreases. Leading the growth is traffic between Western Europe and Africa with an increase of 19% (3,883) in the number of flights and an 18% increase in seats (710,129). However, between Western Europe and North America there is a 9% decrease in the number of flights and an 8% decrease in the number of seats.

Frequency and capacity between North America and Central/South America are up 5% compared to December 2008. A hubs analysis shows that Beijing has seen an impressive 10% increase in the number of flights and a 9% increase in seats, while Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport shows a negative growth of 6% in the number of flights and a 4% reduction in capacity. A similar trend can be seen for other major European hubs, with flights at Amsterdam Schiphol down 7% and seats down 6%.