Despite fears of the potential impact of the H1N1 flu, statistics from OAG, a leading aviation data business, reveal the year-on-year decline in global airline capacity has not accelerated for May 2009 when compared to figures for April when the outbreak began. OAG reports the world’s airlines have scheduled 5 percent (127,000) fewer flights for May 2009 compared with the same month last year, with a 2.7 percent drop in seat capacity of 8.3 million fewer seats.
Last month, the year-on-year global frequency and capacity figures were down by 5.5 percent and 3 percent respectively. The total number of flights scheduled to operate worldwide this month is 2.43 million, offering 298.6 million seats to travelers around the globe.
“The airline community is understandably cautious, especially with memories of the devastating effect which the SARS virus had on the airline industry in 2003,” said David Beckerman, vice president OAG Market Intelligence. "So far, our figures are not showing a dramatic downturn in seat capacity; however that’s not to say that airlines and passengers are complacent – far from it. We will need to wait a while until we can see some clear trends and gain some perspective on the situation,” said David Beckerman, vice president OAG Market Intelligence.
The figures are revealed in the May 2009 edition of OAG FACTS (Frequency & Capacity Trend Statistics), a monthly market intelligence tool providing data on current passenger airline activity around the world.
OAG says this is the 10th successive month of declines in airline capacity; however the rate of decline is showing signs of flattening, after a dramatic downturn in February this year. Global capacity reductions have remained at 3 percent for the last 3 months compared to figures for the same months in 2008.
At a regional level, OAG statistics for May show the trends of recent months continuing. The only region with worsening airline seat capacity figures compared to those reported last month is Asia Pacific, although the difference is slight.