Global airline capacity and flight volumes continue to decline, statistics reveal


The world’s airlines have scheduled 4.9 percent fewer flights for March 2009 compared with the same month last year, with a 3.3 percent drop in seat capacity, according to the latest statistics from OAG (, the world’s leading aviation data business.

David Beckerman, vice president of Market Intelligence at OAG, said: “The OAG figures for March reveal a continuing slowdown in the global figures and on the key long-haul routes between North America and hubs in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Asia is holding up much better with a marginal decline in frequencies and slight growth in intra-regional capacity, while the Middle East is bucking the global trend with comparatively healthy growth, especially for international operations. Europe continues to see sharp cutbacks on routes to, from and within the region, while Africa remains fairly stable compared with this time last year.”

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According to OAG, this is the eighth successive month of declines, and represents a reduction of more than 122,000 flights and 9.8 million seats year on year. The total number of flights scheduled to operate worldwide this month is 2.38 million, offering 289.8 million seats to travelers around the globe.

The figures are revealed in the March 2009 edition of OAG FACTS (Frequency & Capacity Trend Statistics), the dynamic monthly market intelligence tool providing the latest data on current passenger airline activity around the world.

Global airline schedules for the first quarter 2009 have dropped by 6.7 percent, or 491,000 fewer flights. This is the first time we have seen a downturn in Q1 figures since 2002, when the industry was absorbing the double impact of 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US and an economic meltdown from the burst of the bubble. Capacity for this quarter also has fallen by 4.4 percent, representing a reduction of 38.6 million seats.

Within the United States this month, domestic airline flight activity has dropped 9.2 percent overall, or 76,164 fewer flights, resulting in 6.5 million fewer seats. The US low cost sector is showing a year-on-year decrease for the month of just over 9 percent for both frequencies and capacity.

OAG, part of UBM Aviation (, provides essential aviation workflow data and analytics sourced from its comprehensive proprietary airline schedules, fleet and MRO databases. UBM Aviation is a division of United Business Media Limited (