Global airline capacity for December 2009 shows positive growth compared to December 2008, reports OAG in its monthly report on trends in the supply of airline flights and seats. There are 294.8 million seats available this month, a rise of 4 percent over December 2008 levels. Global frequencies are up 1 percent compared to December 2008, with a total of 2.4 million flights scheduled for December 2009, despite an average North American frequency decline of 2 percent. Worldwide, frequencies and capacity in the low cost sector are both up by 10 percent compared to a year ago, accounting for 444,539 flights (18 percent) and 65.6 million seats (22 percent).
“Global capacity continues to rise, boosted by worldwide increases in both frequency and capacity in the low cost sector, which would tend to show us that travelers are choosing to fly airlines that offer more economical choices," said John Weber, senior vice president OAG Aviation. "This increase in December 2009 capacity recovers the global pull-down of minus 10 million scheduled seats in 2008 and brings us back to the pre-crisis level of December 2007, but the characteristics of many markets have fundamentally changed.”
Analysis of major routes reveals that frequency and capacity on certain routes reflect positive growth, while others are showing strong decreases. Leading the growth is traffic between Western Europe and Africa with an increase of 19 percent (3,883) in the number of flights and an 18 percent increase in seats (710,129). However, between Western Europe and North America there is a 9 percent decrease in the number of flights and an 8 percent decrease in the number of seats.
Frequency and capacity between North America and Central/South America are up 5 percent compared to December 2008. A hubs analysis shows that Beijing has seen an impressive 10 percent increase in the number of flights and a 9 percent increase in seats, while Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport shows a negative growth of 6 percent in the number of flights and a 4 percent reduction in capacity. A similar trend can be seen for other major European hubs, with flights at Amsterdam Schiphol down 7 percent and seats down 6 percent.