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Global airlines recorded a five per cent year-on-year expansion in seat capacity and four per cent increase in frequencies for February compared to February last year, expanding capacity levels for the sixth consecutive month, reveals the latest research from OAG (Official Airline Guide) Aviation.
The Middle East, continuing its growth trajectory, performed well with Abu Dhabi registering a 24 per cent growth in frequency for February, according to the OAG data. In December, too, Middle Eastern airlines continued to reflect a strong positive growth with the number of flights and seat capacity within the region up by 19 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.
"Capacity and flight frequency growth in the Middle East are being driven by a substantial increase in active aircraft operated by airlines based in the region. Over the past year, Middle East carriers have increased their active fleets by about 120 aircraft. This has added a minimum 27,000 additional daily seats into the market," John Weber, Vice-President, OAG Aviation, told Emirates Business.
He added that just four airlines – Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Gulf Air – accounted for "34 per cent" of the additional aircraft. "Emirates, with 21 additional aircraft year-on-year, was the major catalyst for growth in the region," said Weber.
The global expansion for February, however, was led by an 11 per cent increase in seat capacity and frequency by low-cost carriers (LCCs), which now account for 19 per cent of total worldwide flights (410,833 flights) and 22 per cent of total seats (60.7 million seats).
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, there are 210 new routes dominated by low-cost carriers, according to the OAG data.
"This month, a number of new routes are being launched; the Asia-Pacific region shows 174 new routes with a large number of them from Chinese carriers. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, there are 210 new routes dominated by low-cost carriers," said Mario M Hardy, Vice-President Asia Pacific, OAG Aviation.
As the Middle East, Latin America, Central/South America and Africa have shown increases in frequency and expansion in seat capacity, Hardy said: "It is fascinating how much the movement in flight frequency and seat capacity seems to reflect the regional economic situation. Asia's economy (except Japan) is gradually and carefully recovering and so are parts of the Europe/Middle East/Africa region, while North America and Japan appear to have difficulty and are struggling to come out of the ongoing recession."
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