OAG: Fourth-Quarter Capacity Cuts Steepen
The domestic airline market will lose nearly 11 percent of its flights and 9 percent of its available seats in the last three months of this year, compared with the same period last year, OAG said today in a revised capacity analysis for the quarter.
OAG reports the United States will lose 21.4 million available seats in the fourth quarter this year over the same period last year. "The scale of the decline in the U.S. market is worse than the previous schedule analysis showed, with airlines taking 265,000 flights out of operation this quarter," OAG COO Steve Casley said today. "When you consider that the combined cuts from all the world's airlines total 451,000 flights, then it really puts America's domestic capacity decline into perspective."
The schedule declines also are trending into what have been considered safer havens of growth—markets connecting North America with Europe and Asia. Today's OAG data show transatlantic capacity falling 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, with transpacific capacity falling 3.1 percent. The figures represent a further paring of airline schedules from data pulled as recently as August, when OAG showed the transpacific sector would slip by only a fraction of a percent in the fourth quarter, while transatlantic capacity would grow 2 percent.
Though OAG said declines in scheduled U.S. flight activity this quarter are lower than expected, the analysis shows global capacity declines of 5.2 percent—a modest improvement on a worldwide basis.
"Our revised analysis of scheduled airline activity reveals a number of significant changes from two months ago, reflecting the dynamic nature of the airline industry compounded by significant economic turmoil in the global financial markets," Casley said. "While the global picture still shows a 5 percent drop in global capacity and a 6 percent drop in flights, this is somewhat less dramatic than the 7 percent fall our database showed previously. However, with economic problems now impacting both Europe and Asia this picture could change quickly as airlines are extremely vulnerable and quick to react to economic downturns and subsequent shifts in market demand."