The total number of scheduled flights operating in July this year grew 3% year on year to 2,767,199. However, seat capacity increased to 351,404,525. This relates to an increase of 5% when compared to July 2010. Increases in aircraft size continue to be a key driver of seat capacity growth. Average seats per frequency increased from 125 seats in July 2010 to 127 in July 2011.
Of the main regions, both to/from Africa and to/from Central and South America saw a year on year decline in frequencies. Both are down 1% for July. However, to/from Central and South America saw a year on year increase in available seat capacity of 1.5%. To/from Africa seat capacity declined fractionally by 0.2%.
In capacity terms, the Middle East continues to be the fastest growing region, with a 10% year on year increase in seats in July. This is closely followed by within Africa with a growth of 8.9%, and then by to/from Asia, which saw a monthly year on year increase of 8.7%. When looking at growth in frequencies, to/from Asia leads the pack. The region saw an 11% year on year growth in frequencies in July. Not far behind is the to/from Middle East market, which recorded a 9% increase for the same year on year period.
The intra Asia/Pacific region maintains its leading position in relation to total seat volumes. Now just 1 million seats short of the 100 million mark, the region grew by 6% year on year for July, adding 5.5 million additional seats. The intra Europe and intra North America regions are only separated by around 1 million seats in July, with 82.8 million and 81.8 millions seats respectively. However, at 5%, intra Europe’s year on growth rate for July is 3 points ahead that of intra North America’s.
Source: OAG, includes international capacity to/from the regions.
Source: OAG, includes capacity within the regions
In July 2011, Low Cost Carriers have a worldwide scheduled capacity share of 25%, with an additional 7.5 million compared to July 2010. This equates to a year on year increase of 9%, which is on a par with the growth seen in the first half of 2011. Europe still dominates the Low Cost market with 31.5 million intra European seats scheduled in July 2011. This is an increase of 2.3 million seats year on year. Similar volume growth was experienced by the intra Asia market with year on year growth of 14% in July. The fastest growing market continues to be intra Africa which grew 24% for July, albeit from a significantly lower base. Frequencies within this market also grew by 35%. As we have witnessed in previous months, despite the marginal growth in capacity in the Central and South American markets, Low Cost Carriers continue to grow rapidly. Frequencies to/from the region grew by 20%, while intra-regional frequencies grew by 12%. Low Cost carriers now make up 32% of total intra Central and South America seat capacity, and 14% of to/from Central and South America seat capacity. LCC capacity to/from Europe and to/from Africa both saw a year on year decline in July, -12% and -5% respectively. This decline has been the result in frequency cut backs due to unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.
Source: OAG, includes international LCC capacity to/from the regions
Source: OAG, includes LCC capacity within the regions
Main Hub Airports
The world’s number one airport, Atlanta, saw a -3% decline in frequencies year on year in July. However, this decline was nullified by a 3% increase in actual seat capacity. This is a clear sign that carriers are opting for larger aircraft, with the average number of seats per aircraft rising from 115 to 122 year on year. Despite a -0.3% decline in seat capacity, London Heathrow maintain its position at number three, but Beijing continues to consolidate its number two spot with an increase in available seats of 2% year on year. Some positive news for Tokyo Haneda; despite seeing a slight drop in overall seat capacity for July 2011 compared to July 2010, there was a 14% increase in frequencies indicating that airlines are looking to improve schedules, but with smaller aircraft compared to the period pre Earthquake.
As the pressures of a weak economy and Austerity measures continue to bite, Madrid was the only airport within the top 20 that saw any kind of reduction. They saw a decline in frequencies year on year off -2%, and also a decline in seat capacity of -1.3%. A similar picture is painted over in Greece, whose economy has just been bailed out for a second time by the European Union. Athens saw a -8% decline in frequencies year on year and a -1.3% reduction in seat capacity.
In terms of absolute volume, Istanbul Ataturk experienced the largest growth with a mammoth rise of close to 1 million seats, a 27% increase on this time last year. Of the top ten airports, both Los Angles and Hong Kong both saw increases in seat volume of around half a million compared to July 2010.
Seat availability in July 2011 for the African region, both intra and to/from, grew by 4% when compared with the same month last year. North Africa continues hold the majority of the market share of capacity. However, this was the first time that it has seen its market share for July decline in recent years. Again this can be attributed to unrest in this region of Africa. Eastern and Central/Western Africa both saw slight increases in their market share, climbing to 17% and 19% respectively.
Source: OAG, includes capacity to/from and within the regions
Africa to Paris and Africa to London continue to be the Africa’s most significant intercontinental markets. However, both saw a year on year decline in seat availability for July, with Paris declining -2% to 694,735, and London falling a by -4% to 601,847.
Route developments during July 2011 include; Senegal Airlines starting 4 new destinations from Dakar. Cotonou, Douala, Libreville will operate via Abidjan, and a direct service tow Praia. After a 21 year absence Egyptair will be resuming services to Iraq. Egyptair will start operating 4 weekly Cairo to Baghdad flights and 3 weekly Cairo to Erbil.
There was a year on year increase for July of both frequencies and seat availability to/from North America. Frequencies increased by 1%, with seat capacity growing by 3%. In all there will be 20,142,104 seats available during July 2011. Within North America there is an increase in frequencies of 0.1%, and an increase in seat capacity of 2% when comparing July 2011 with Jul 2010.
Source: OAG, includes seat capacity to/from the Airports and North America
Seat capacity in July between North America and major hubs in Asia has now reached levels in advance of those seen prior to the Global Financial Crisis. Overall, seat capacity between the two regions grew by 8% with Shanghai being the top performer out of the major hubs, growing by 22% in July year on year.
Low Cost traffic to/from and within North America both experienced increases year on year. Available seats within the region grew by 6% when compared to July 2010. However seat capacity to/from North America saw an increase of 16%, adding over 200,000 additional seats.
Seat capacity within Europe grew 5% year on year. In July carriers will operate a total of 640,290 flights and offer 82,797,770 seats as Europe enter the busy summer holiday period. Scheduled capacity to/from Europe also grew in July with an increase of 5% in both the number of flights and offered seats.
There continues to be strong expansion within Europe by Low Cost carriers. LCC’s now represent nearly 30% of all traffic within and to/from Europe. Despite the economic turmoil in a number of Eurozone countries, LCC seat capacity has grown by 7% for July 2011. Growth has not just been confined to the LCC market. Traditional carriers have also seen a rise in seat capacity, providing 5% more seats compared to Jul 2010.
Growth between Western Europe and the Middle East continues at a pace, with only London out of the major cities seeing a decline in both frequencies (-3%) and seats (-1%). Milan (25%), Rome (10%), Amsterdam (19%) and Madrid (40%) all saw large double digit capacity growth between the two regions. With continued aircraft deliveries scheduled for the main Gulf carriers it can be assumed that growth between Europe as whole and the Middle East will continued for the foreseeable future. This was emphasised by the recent announcement of a new St Petersburg service by Emirates.
Frequencies and seat capacity to/from Asia Pacific has increased by 11% and 9% respectively. Within the Asia/Pacific, an additional 39,437 more flights and 5,515,926 more seats will be made available in July 2011 compared to the same month in 2010. This is an increase of 6% for both frequencies and seats.
Domestic capacity in China grew by 5% year on year and maintains its status as the number two domestic market in the world, some way ahead of Brazil in third. China’s international capacity has seen an even sharper increase. Compared to July 2010, July 2011 will have additional 1.1m international seats.
Source: OAG, includes International and Domestic China Capacity
Asia/Pacific has seven of the top twenty airports by capacity in July, with PEK, HND, HKG, SIN, BKK, CGK and PVG representing over 43.2 million seats and 206,043 flights for the month.
Delhi continues to be the fastest growing hub in the Asia/Pacific region with frequencies up 20% and available seats increasing by 22%. However, one spot below on the global table is Hanoi. Year on year Hanoi has seen frequencies increase by a triumphant 28%, and seat capacity up 21%. Hanoi now has total of 1.33 million seats available in July, up 232,660 on July 2010. A significant proportion of that capacity has come from Qatar Airways’ four times a week Doha to Hanoi service which operates via Bangkok.
Low cost within the Asia/Pacific region also grew rapidly, increasing capacity by 2.25 million available seats to 18.8 million, a growth of 14% when compared to July 2010. Low Cost seats to/from the Asia Pacific region witnessed an increase of 21% year on year.
OAG FACTS uses interactive graphs to display a 10-year visual trend of the performance of a specific airport, route, country or region. It is updated monthly.
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