Global flight capacity shows signs of recovery, but some regions lag

Airline capacity up, but will passengers follow?

22 Mar 2024 11:25am
Photo for illustration purpose only. - File photo by Sinar
Photo for illustration purpose only. - File photo by Sinar

SHAH ALAM - Amidst global economic challenges, airlines worldwide are beginning to stabilise their seat capacity after a year of reductions, according to the latest report from OAG, a leading aviation data company.

The report reveals a marginal one per cent decrease compared to July 2008 levels, with slightly over 315 million seats available this month.

OAG Market Intelligence, Vice President David Beckerman said the significance of airline capacity as an indicator of economic confidence.

He noted that airlines adjust their operations based on market demand, which is influenced by corporate budget management and leisure travellers' disposable income, particularly during financial uncertainties.

"The OAG figures reflect a clear and welcome upward trend from the dramatic declines seen in recent months.

"We can only wait and see if this outlook bears financial fruit in actual passenger numbers and airline load factors," Beckerman said.

These insights are detailed in the July 2009 edition of OAG FACTS (Frequency & Capacity Trend Statistics), a comprehensive market intelligence tool offering current data on global passenger airline activity.

According to the report, airlines worldwide have scheduled a total of 2.55 million flights this July, reflecting a three per cent decrease compared to the same period last year.

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There is a reduction of 3.3 million seats available for travelers globally, representing a two per cent decrease in capacity compared to the previous year.

FLYING Magazine, as reported by Online News Portal, indicated a separate report from OAG revealing a milestone in the aviation industry's recovery from the pandemic. Global airline capacity in the second quarter of 2024 has surpassed that of Q2 2019, indicating significant progress.

However, while most regions have shown signs of recovery, Southeast Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, Southwest Pacific, and Southern Africa are yet to fully bounce back in terms of capacity, as reported by OAG. Southeast Asia experienced a decline of 11.3 per cent, Eastern and Central Europe saw a decrease of 13.8 per cent, Southwest Pacific witnessed a minor decrease of 2.1 per cent, and Southern Africa observed a significant decline of 15.5 per cent.

In contrast, the United States (US) continues to lead the global aviation market, with a substantial increase of 6.5% in seat capacity compared to Q2 2019.

Nonetheless, among the top 10 country markets, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Indonesia have yet to fully recover to Q2 2019 levels.

OAG attributed Germany's decline in global flight capacity to shifts in travel patterns, reductions in domestic capacity, and a slower recovery in the long-haul market post-pandemic.

Japan faces operational challenges due to its reliance on China for capacity and Russian overflights for some airlines.

In terms of top carriers, United Airlines emerges as the leader in capacity, with a growth of 5.7 per cent in Q2 2024 compared to Q2 2019.

However, Delta Air Lines and EasyJet are yet to surpass their Q2 2019 levels, with Delta witnessing a minor decrease of 1.3 per cent, and EasyJet experiencing a slight decline of 1.2 per cent.

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