Global Airline Growth Is Gaining Pace

May 4, 2011
May capacity up by 6% as airlines increase capacity to meet travel demand

CHICAGO, May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The world's airlines are anticipating increased demand again in May according to the latest statistics from OAG, a UBM Aviation brand.  The OAG FACTS (Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics) report for May reveals a 6% increase in scheduled capacity, an additional 17.9 million seats, compared to the same month in 2010. This means that May growth is ahead of the 5% average monthly capacity increase for the year to date.  The number of scheduled frequencies is up 4.2% year on year, or 106,438 more flights, ahead of the 3.9% average monthly increase for 2011.

"The scheduled May services reflect continued expectations for increased global demand, despite tempering in some regions due to economic pressures, political unrest, fuel costs and other influences," said Peter von Moltke, Chief Executive Officer, UBM Aviation. "While some sectors will continue expansion and the overall outlook for 2011 is optimistic, we see carriers cautiously monitoring the external influences as well as trends in business and leisure travel behaviors."

China is now the second largest domestic market in the world behind the United States with more than 30 million available seats this month, an increase of 7% over May 2010.  China's domestic capacity has almost trebled since 2002 and represents 9% of the total global air travel market. Brazil is ranked third with 11.1 million domestic seats.

In terms of total growth, the intra Asia/Pacific region remains the clear leader with an increase of over 6.7 million seats for the month.  Six of the top ten worldwide airports by capacity growth year on year are in this region, with Delhi, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore, Tokyo Haneda and Kuala Lumpur representing over 3.9 million additional seats and 22% of the total worldwide growth for the month.  Delhi tops worldwide growth with a 28% increase in seats and 20% growth in flights.

The Middle East is the fastest growing region in international available seats with an 11% year on year growth in capacity to and from the region.  In terms of international flight frequency growth, Asia Pacific remains first.

Atlanta remains the largest global airport based on scheduled capacity, with almost 9 million available seats in May, and is a remarkable 15% ahead of the second largest hub, Beijing.  Yet again, Heathrow has swapped with Tokyo Haneda this month for the number three spot.  This repositioning is undoubtedly based on recent events in Japan as carriers around the world are managing capacity in this region on a short term basis.

A snapshot of Europe this month reveals that the intra Europe region growth is second only to Asia / Pacific with a 6% growth over 2010. The strong growth of low cost carriers (LCC) continues in Europe with the share of the intra Europe market now at 37% compared to just 7.6% a decade ago. The top eight airports between Europe and North America, AMS, CDG, FCO, FRA, LGW, LHR, MAD and MXP, now represent 28% of to total capacity between North America and Europe, the lowest it has been over the last decade.  

A more detailed review of OAG FACTS statistics for May 2011 – including information and commentary about specific regions, routes and airports worldwide – is available to download now.

OAG FACTS (Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics) uses interactive graphs to display a 10-year visual trend of the performance of specific airports, routes, countries and regions.  It is updated monthly.

About OAG

OAG, a UBM Aviation brand, is the trusted source for aviation information and analytical services, with data sourced from OAG's comprehensive and proprietary airline Schedules, Flight Status, Fleet, MRO and Cargo Logistics databases.  Our airline schedules database holds future and historical flight details for over 1,000 airlines and more than 4,000 airports. Our aggregated data feeds the world's global distribution systems and travel portals, and drives the internal systems of many airlines, airports, air traffic control systems, aircraft manufacturers, and government agencies around the world.  For more information, visit

About UBM Aviation

UBM Aviation, a UBM company, brings together buyers and sellers of air travel and transport through our portfolio of products and services.  We specialize in the supply of data, analytics, consulting services, events and media related to the global aviation industry. Our leading brands include the official provider of aviation data and analytics, OAG;  a leading provider of solutions for the air freight industry, OAG Cargo; the world-renowned provider of airport route development forums, marketing and networking events, Routes; the leading route development consultancy firm, Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM); an international program of aviation exhibitions and conferences including the Airline Purchasing & Maintenance Expo and Conferences; and must-read aviation publications such as Aircraft Technology Engineering & Maintenance and Airline Fleet Management.  For more information, visit