Forecast Drop in Global Airline Capacity

According to aviation analyst company OAG (Official Airline Guide), the world’s carriers will provide 59.7 million fewer seats in the fourth quarter of 2008 than a year ago. The latest figures from its consolidated database reveal a 7% drop both in the number of flights and in seat capacity in the period. The US domestic market will account for just under 20 million of that figure, or 33% of the global decline in capacity, in what could turn out to be the most far-reaching crisis to hit the aviation industry in recent memory.
Traditionally, it has been the world’s largest theatre of airline activity, though the intra-Europe and intra-Asia air transport markets have been growing quickly in recent years, largely due to the growth of low-cost carriers. The transatlantic route, however, is showing continued growth – albeit at a much slower rate than a year ago – with flights up by 1% and capacity up by 2%.
Many airports will be severely affected by the cuts announced by airline operations: based on current filed schedules, 275 around the world are losing scheduled air service altogether. Of these, 32 are in the US and 116 are in the Asia Pacific region.
OAG also maintains a world fleet database and has adjusted its ten-year forecast for the global scheduled aircraft fleet to shrink by more than 3,500, as a result of high jet fuel prices and to reflect the impact of these capacity cuts. Deliveries of new units are expected to be reduced by 744 and near-term firm orders to be pushed back rather than cancelled.