Global aviation capacity over 85 pc of 2019 level : OAG

China’s partial reopening helps boost aviation recovery
/ New Delhi
Global aviation capacity over 85 pc of 2019 level : OAG

Capacity for the three months is 24 pc higher than the corresponding period last year, but OAG cautions that there is a noticeable dip in capacity in November

According to the latest data collected by aviation data aggregator and analyst firm OAG, the global aviation industry is now less than 15 pc below the peaks it had touched in the pre-pandemic period. The partial reopening of certain areas in China is believed to have contributed to the recovery this week, adds OAG.
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The latest reopening of some commercial centres in China has resulted in a slight increase in global airline capacity back to 97.4 million which keeps global capacity within 15 pc of its pre-pandemic 2019 levels. The rest of the market seems to reflect the wider global mood of reflection as everything seems to have paused in the last seven days, says an analysis by global aviation data aggregator and analyst firm OAG.

OAG adds, however, that the next few weeks will see capacity reduce further as the last weeks of the summer season wind down in many markets. Quite how strong the summer season was for the airline industry will be determined in the next few weeks as the cash is counted, but the challenges of resources remain with many airports and airlines still struggling, it says.

Looking at the forward capacity over the next 60 days, until end of November, OAG says the scenario can be seen either as a “glass half full” or “glass half empty”. Capacity for the three months is 24 pc higher than the corresponding period last year, but OAG cautions that there is a noticeable dip in capacity in November. Major global airports such as London Heathrow report capacity increases in November 2022 by some 52 pc, but down against November 2019 by some 8 pc which would be a positive set of numbers. Frankfurt meanwhile is standing at 26 pc growth on last year but down 17 pc on 2019 and New York JFK is a standout performer at +21 pc growth YOY and 4 pc higher than even in 2019.

Airline capacity for November is also clouded by the late release of schedules from many Chinese airlines who are still finalising their programmes, says OAG.

However, the good news for the aviation industry in this week has come from the same region, North East Asia where over one million extra seats were added over the previous week, even though the region remains slightly below capacity operated in the same week last year. The reopening of Japan to visitors is obviously positive news but China dwarfs everything and their 8.6 pc increase in capacity is driving the growth.

Western Europe remains the largest regional market but holding onto that number one position will become increasingly difficult in the next few weeks as seasonal services are wound down and the strength of the North American domestic market comes into play, says OAG.

Three regional markets are now reporting capacity growth close to or above 10 pc compared to the same week in 2019. Central Asia is leading the growth regions with 15 pc more capacity as a mixture of low-cost carriers enter the market and Turkish Airlines continue to expand their network in the region. Compared to September 2019, TK have increased their capacity by 60 pc, an impressive performance even outside of a pandemic period, notes OAG.

Although the top 20 country markets have been the same over the last few months with an occasional change in position, this is likely to be the last week before Greece slides out of the table as capacity cuts next week will see either Colombia or Thailand enter the top 20 listing. That change aside the table is increasingly looking like pre-pandemic levels, South Korea and Malaysia remain noticeable absentees from the list and are currently sitting in 23rd and 27th positions respectively, so still have some way to go to re-enter the chart.

Other country markets that still have some way to go in their aviation recovery journey are Hong Kong, which is trailing 93 pc below its pre-Covid level, Chinese Taipei (-61 pc) and South Korea (-46 pc) all of which are very dependent on international capacity and connectivity to China.

Confirming it was a quiet week for capacity adjustments the top four global airlines who collectively account for 17 pc of all capacity adjusted added just 5,500 seats between them or a percentage change of 0.003 pc and not surprisingly none of them changed positions in the table, says OAG.

China Southern Airlines registered the highest weekly growth in the week amongst global carriers, having added 23 pc more capacity in he past seven days. But, as OAG notes, it is still at least 26 pc below the 2019 capacity.

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