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OAG Offers Analysis of Crisis Response

September 9, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent

Ever wonder what the impact of events such as 9/11 have on the airline and travel industry? If so OAG, a global leader in aviation intelligence, is reporting the results of the OAG World Crisis Analysis, which calculates the impact that events such as terrorism, pandemics and natural disasters have had on global airline capacity over the past 30 years. Surprisingly, only the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks and Global Banking crises causing major disruptions.

The analysis shows that global airline capacity has grown on average 3.1 percent per year since 1979, and that air travel is largely immune to regionalized events such as natural disasters, conflicts, and fuel price spikes. In fact, OAG says, in the vast majority of crises, there was a negligible impact in global airline capacity, and at a regional level capacity dropped less than 4 percent and recovered within three months.

“The OAG World Crisis Analysis shows how quickly the aviation industry responds and adapts in the face of almost any disaster, which is reassuring news for world markets and the ancillary industries that depend on aviation,” said Peter von Moltke, CEO of UBM Aviation, OAG’s parent company. “Informed by sound historical data and analytics that provide a reliable picture of how external factors affect passenger demand, airlines are able to quickly adjust their flight capacities based on market needs, thus mitigating the impact of crises.”

Major findings of the OAG report include:

1.    From 1979 to September 11, 2001, world airline capacity was steadily increasing at an average of five percent, or 94 million seats, per year.
2.    Since the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks, world capacity has steadily grown an average of 2.6 percent, or 81 million seats, per year.
3.    The World Trade Centre attacks in 2001 and the Global Banking crisis of 2008-2009 are the only two events since 1979 that caused significant decreases in global air capacity, averaging a 3 percent and 9 percent drop in capacity and recovering within 36 months and 24 months respectively.
4.    Regionalized events such as the Gulf Wars, swine flu and volcanic eruptions caused on average less than a 4 percent drop in regional airline capacity that recovered within three months or less, with a negligible impact on global capacity.
5.    Continued growth in air capacity is being driven mainly by Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, Middle East and China, where growth of the middle class and personal wealth is contributing to increased air travel demand.

“After analyzing OAG’s capacity data from the last three decades, we were astonished at the airline industry’s resiliency in times of crisis. One would have thought that tragic events in recent years would have dramatically affected air travel capacity for long periods of time, but that simply has not been the case, with only the World Trade Centre attacks and Global Banking crises causing major disruptions,” said Mario Hardy, VP – Asia Pacific, UBM Aviation. “Difficult lessons learned from past tragedies have been taken to heart and put to good use by the aviation industry, which is poised to continue growing for the foreseeable future.”

OAG World Crisis Analysis At-A-Glance Summary:

EventEvent scaleRecovery period
Volcanic Eruption US-May 1980Lowup to 3 months
Volcanic Eruption Columbia-Nov 1985Lowup to 3 months
Earthquake Armenia-Dec 1988Lowup to 3 months
Earthquake Iran-Jun 1990Lowup to 3 months
Cyclone and Flooding Bangladesh-Apr 1991Lowup to 3 months
Flood North Korea-Aug 1995Lowup to 3 months
Drought India-May 2000Lowup to 3 months
WTC Attack US-Sep 2001High12-36 months
First SARS alerts Hong Kong-March 2003Medium3-12 months
SARS China-Jan 2004Medium3-12 months
Second SARS China-Jan 2005Medium3-12 months
Earthquake China-May 2008Lowup to 3 months
Swine Flu Mexico-Apr 2009Lowup to 3 months
Banking Crisis 2009High12-36 months
Volcanic Ash Iceland-Apr 2010Lowup to 3 months
Quake, Tsunami and nuclear plant explosion Japan-March 2011Medium3-12 months

A more detailed review of the OAG World Crisis Analysis – including information, commentary and charts about specific events and regions worldwide – is available to download now at www.oagaviation/worldcrisisanalysis


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George Dooley
George Dooley, Travel Agent’s senior contributing editor covering retail and technology, has a long-standing reputation as one of the top travel industry journalists. He notes...

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By George Dooley | September 9, 2011
Surprisingly, only the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and Global Banking crises caused major, long-term disruptions.
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