Tuesday, 20 May 2008: Although airlines across the globe are scheduled to operate 2% more flights in May 2008 than 2007, the Official Airline Guide reports that this is half of the growth in flights from last month.
There will only be 40,000 additional flights operating in May 2008, and capacity represents an additional 10.1 million seats, which is only a 3% rise compared to 5% in May 2007.
Continuing its role as an indicator of global trends, the United States has reflected a 3% drop in domestic flights scheduled for the month, although the low cost sector has a 4% increase in both domestic flights and capacity.
Inter-continental routes are maintaining their healthy growth, with evident expansion in the Western Europe-Middle East connections, with a 13% increase in flights and capacity growing by 11%.
Similar growth is evident in transatlantic operations, with an 8% increase seen across the board in flights and capacity compared to May 2007.
The formidable growth in India and China continues, as they both displayed year-on-year growth in excess of the average. This month in India, there is a 31% increase in incoming and outgoing flights, and a 13% rise in domestic operations.
International flights landing and departing from China have grown by 10%, and domestic operations have risen by 4%. Other countries that have experienced impressive growth despite the global slowdown include China, the Russian Federation and Brazil.
The international aircraft fleets have growth substantially, by 3.7%, and North America continues its domination, accounting for 36% of the global market.
However, the largest increases in aircraft fleet are from the Latin America & Caribbean region, with a 7.7% increase, and the Asia Pacific, with 6.6%.
The Chief Operating Officer of the OAG, Steve Casley, commented that “Financial burdens caused by economic uncertainties and rising fuel prices are starting to take their toll.”
He considered the recent collapse of several airlines worldwide, as well as the tendency of carriers to restructure or collaborate with competitors to emerge unscathed from the economic climate.
“Yet, OAG’s statistics indicate continued and growing consumer demand for air travel, albeit at a slower rate than previous months, and the airlines are responding with increased capacity in many markets.”
Other interesting developments include the operational review and expansion of several international airports, as well as the growth of Asian and European capacity, which is beginning to threaten North American dominance.
According to Casley, “If you combine this with the 35% increase in aircraft orders, it indicates that despite current financial pressures, the industry as a whole is gearing up its investment for long-term sustainability.”