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13 MILLION SEATS

Mideast leads growth in long-haul airline seats

London, September 5, 2012

The Middle East will see the strongest growth of any global region in available long-haul airline seats in September, adding 22,000 extra seats per day, according to the latest statistics from OAG, the market leader in flight schedule data.

The OAG FACTS (Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics) report for September reveals an expected 5 per cent growth in available seats to and from the Middle East, compared to September 2011, with 13.1 million anticipated in the month. Meanwhile, flight operations to and from the region are expected to increase by 4 per cent to 59,771.

Rob Shaw, director of Analytics at OAG, said: 'Dubai is expected to lead all major global hubs in September in terms of growth, with an 8  per cent increase in flights and a 12 per cent increase in seats, a disparity partly reflecting Emirates' adoption of the Airbus A380.

“However, Abu Dhabi is enjoying the fruits of its own expansion strategy and will remain the fastest growing hub in the Middle East, with a 16 per cent increase in seat capacity to 1,661,512 compared to September 2011. Doha and Riyadh will also see strong growth in seat capacity of 10 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

'The Middle East remains at the vanguard of long-haul air traffic growth globally. While this expansion in part reflects the ambitious growth targets of the 'superconnector' airlines - Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways - airport infrastructure investments across the region continue to make the Middle East attractive to other long-haul carriers,” he added.

In contrast to the region's long-haul growth, air traffic within the Middle East is expected to decrease in September, with a 3 per cent drop in both flights and seats. Low-cost carriers (LCCs) are expected to increase their share of intra-Middle Eastern seat capacity to 15 per cent, an increase of 12 per cent over September 2011.

Meanwhile, LCC flights in the region are expected to grow by 16 per cent in the month, with 856 extra flights compared to the same period in 2011.

Shaw says: 'LCCs are increasing their market share in the Middle East. Not only are they achieving robust growth within regional flights and seats, but low-cost operations are also becoming more prominent in long-haul traffic. In September, LCCs are expected to achieve 18 per cent growth in flights and seats to and from the Middle East compared to 2011, equivalent to 1,048 extra flights and 182,139 additional seats.'

Worldwide, scheduled airline flights are expected to decrease by 0.4 per cent in September 2012 versus September 2011 (11,799 fewer), although seat capacity will be 2 per cent higher (6,088,628 more). The total number of scheduled flights operating in September will be 2,615,534, with 340,191,374 seats offered.

North America is expected to record the greatest volume decreases in intra-regional volumes in the month, with a fall of almost one million seats and 28,000 flights against the prior year, continuing the recent trend.

Seat capacity performance at the top 10 global hubs will be mixed, with only half recording increases. Heathrow, Chicago, Paris and Los Angeles are all expected to show decreases. Frankfurt will be the fifth largest hub by seat capacity, up from sixth in September 2011.

For the year to date (January-September 2012), scheduled flights are expected to show growth of 1 per cent versus the same period last year, an increase of 324,842 flights.

Seat capacity is expected to grow by 3 per cent, creating 92 million additional seats in the period. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Airline | Middle East | Long haul | OAG | Aircraft seats |

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