Based upon the latest analysis of scheduled airline capacity data from OAG, total scheduled airline capacity is anticipated to increase by 3% in March 2012. The increase in overall capacity however is not matched by a similar increase in frequency, indeed total frequencies have increased by only 2% over March last year.
Although the trend towards increases in capacity and frequency is encouraging, from a regional perspective the picture is somewhat mixed and significant variations exist. The Middle East is the region which commands the highest level of increase in capacity and frequency. Analysis of data to/from the Middle East region suggests a 9% increase in frequency and an increase of 10% in capacity for March 2012. A similarly positive picture emerges when considering capacity within the region with frequency and capacity increasing by 9% and 7% respectively.
Only capacity to/from South and Central America records a level of growth close to that achieved in the Middle East region. Frequency and capacity are both set to increase by 9% in March 2012. The positive trend towards growth continues within the region. Capacity and frequency within South and Central America are anticipated to increase by 7% and 8% this month.
Capacity within North America sees a decline of 1% suggesting the continuation of difficult trading conditions as a consequence of the global economic downturn. Frequencies within North America have also declined by 3% suggesting an overall contraction of the market, albeit the majority arguably being attributable to changes in the schedules of American Airlines as the carrier enters Chapter 11. Within Europe, total seat capacity remains unchanged; however the number of frequencies for the month declines by 2%.
Source - OAG
Source - OAG
Main Hub Airports
A review of the top ten hub airports worldwide highlights the comparative performance of the world’s major gateways.
Three airports in North America feature in the top ten hub airports in terms of available capacity. Despite there being no change in overall monthly capacity when compared against the same month last year, Atlanta Hartsfield Airport retains its position as the largest airport in terms of total seat capacity. Los Angeles is the only North American airport in the top ten to achieve positive capacity growth over the period with an increase of 3%. Both Dallas Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare Airports anticipate a decline in capacity, most likely as a consequence of a reduction in services operated by American Airlines as the carrier assesses its network as a consequence of entering Chapter 11. Total capacity from each airport is forecast to decline by 1% and 4% respectively.
In terms of key growth hubs, Hong Kong and Beijing Airports record high levels of capacity growth. Capacity at Hong Kong is set to increase by 7% this month when compared with March last year. Capacity development at Hong Kong will be driven in part by the introduction of new routes. This month sees Hong Kong Airlines inaugurate their service to Taipei. The inaugural service is to be operated by an All-Business Class A330-200. On the 8th of March the carrier will commence services between Hong Kong and London Gatwick. Further increases in capacity at Hong Kong Airport will be provided by Hong Kong Express which also introduces two new routes this month, linking Hong Kong with Xi’an and Changsha.
Beijing Airport anticipates an increase in capacity of 6% this month despite Hainan Airlines decision to cancel its twice weekly service to Budapest. China Southern however is understood to be upgrading capacity between Hong Kong and Beijing this month, replacing the existing A321 aircraft with the A380.
Source - OAG
The total available seat capacity to/from the Africa region remains unchanged versus the same month in the previous year. Despite this, capacity within Africa is anticipated to increase with a capacity and frequency increment of 7% and 6% respectively.
Within Africa, it is clear that there are mixed fortunes. After the events of last year, total international capacity to Egypt has increased by 11% and domestic capacity has increased by 24%. Total capacity from Cairo is anticipated to increase by 10% with the total number of frequencies likely to increase by 19%. It is clear however that there is still some concern about the Cairo market as evidenced by there being 12% fewer seats available between Cairo and destinations in Western Europe
Across the region however there are significant disparities in capacity when comparing this March with last. In terms of the major capacity losses, Tripoli is expected to suffer the most significant loss in capacity over the period. Compared with last March, 60% fewer seats are available from the Libyan capital. Other airports in the region are also set to experience declines in capacity. Dakar Airport in Senegal anticipates a decline in capacity of 21%.
In Harare, there will be in excess of 23,000 fewer seats this March, equivalent to a decline in capacity of 18%. Of note however is the decline in capacity at two of Morocco’s major airports. Casablanca and Marrakech are both expected to experience a decline in capacity of 16%.
Source - OAG
There is positive news however for other airports in the region as many experience strong growth in capacity. Kigali and Douala Airports anticipate growth in capacity of 47% and 40% respectively this month. Entebbe Airport in Uganda also sees significant growth in capacity and frequency this month. Frequencies to Entebbe will increase by 23% this month and are complimented by a 24% increase in capacity. The increase in capacity is welcome and comes despite Gulf Air’s decision to cancel their service from late February. Emirates however commence their direct daily service to Entebbe towards the end of the month increasing capacity as a consequence. Previously the service had routed via Addis Ababa.
Europe appears set to experience positive growth this month with a 2% increase in capacity and frequency to/from the region. Within Europe however total capacity remains unchanged, however total frequencies see a 2% decline over the period.
Within the region, Spain stands out as a market experiencing considerable flux. The effects of the collapse of Spanair continue to be reflected through the evident losses of capacity on routes to/from Spain. The major impact is seen on routes within Spain where total capacity is anticipated to decline by 19% in March, equivalent to the loss of in excess of 880,000 seats during the month. The frequency of services within Spain is also set to decline by 15%. From an international perspective, the impact is mitigated somewhat although overall declines of 3% in frequency and 2% in capacity are anticipated.
It is interesting to note however that the loss of Spanair has arguably not had the catastrophic impact upon capacity at Barcelona Airport that may otherwise have been expected. When compared with March 2011, capacity at Barcelona Airport is anticipated to decline by only 2% this month with total frequencies declining by 6%. In contrast however, capacity at Madrid Airport is set to decline by 15% when compared with March last year. In addition the number of frequencies operated from the Spanish capital will also decline by 14%. Iberia’s new subsidiary airline Iberia Express is slated to commence operation later this month on the 25th and will initially operate routes to destinations including Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga and the Canary Islands.
Source - OAG
Printer friendly version: OAG FACTS Executive Summary March 2012
OAG FACTS was compiled by ASM using OAG data.