CHICAGO, Ill. – The world’s airlines have scheduled 5% more capacity on 3% more flights for the fifth month running, according to the latest statistics from OAG, a UBM Aviation brand. The OAG FACTS (Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics) report for October reveals that 87,176 more scheduled flights will operate this month, offering 16.6 million more seats, continuing a remarkably steady upward trend for the global airline industry compared with 2010. The figures equate to 2.65 million flights for October with a total capacity of 337.3 million seats.
“It is unusual to see such consistent growth in scheduled flights and capacity,” said Peter von Moltke, Chief Executive Officer, UBM Aviation. “While profit forecasts for the industry remain weak, these figures indicate that airlines remain confident that passenger demand will continue to buck the gloomy economic outlook.”
The balance between a higher overall increase in capacity (5%) compared to frequency (3%) reflects the growing number of carriers replacing older aircraft with larger, ‘next generation’ aircraft that can carry more passengers. This month’s average seat per flight figure is 127 compared to 125 in October 2010.
Growth in Asia Pacific continues to outperform other regions with 11% more scheduled flights and 9% more capacity to and from its airports. October figures for services within the region are equally impressive, with nearly 100 million seats this month – a rise of 8% – giving intra-Asia Pacific a 30% share of worldwide seat capacity.
While the top three airport rankings by capacity have not changed from 2010 (Atlanta, Beijing, London Heathrow), Tokyo Haneda has overtaken Chicago O’Hare as the fourth largest hub airport in the world, supported by its Terminal 3 operations which opened one year ago this month. Tokyo Haneda is likely to continue its growth as more slots are expected to be released for additional schedule services.
The world’s top airport, Atlanta, shows a 3% decline in scheduled flights and 1% decline in seat capacity. Beijing is catching up fast, with a 5% increase for flights and seats compared with the same month last year, and is pulling away from London Heathrow as October figures show the gap between the two airports has widened from just 2,739 seats in 2010 to 451,573 seats.