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Aviation growth hits all-time high

World's airlines offer 114,000 more flights and 17.7 million more seats year over year, 12 million more low cost seats, low cost sector now accounts for 16% of all flights worldwide and 1 in 5 of all airline seats and significant rises in transatlantic flights and between Europe and Africa.

The global airline industry shows no sign of reducing its activities, with a 5% increase in the number of flights scheduled for May 2007 compared with the same month last year. According to the latest statistics from OAG, the world's authority on flight information, this represents an additional 113,827 flights and 17.7 million more seats available to travelers.

OAG is a global flight information and data solutions company for the passenger aviation, air cargo logistics and business travel markets. It brings together buyers and sellers of air travel and transport through the management and distribution of airline product information; the supply of corporate travel planning tools; and the promotion of travel and transport products. OAG's business is underpinned by its data management expertise. It holds a breadth of travel related content and is best known for its airline schedules database.

This holds future and historical flight details for 1,000 airlines and more than 3,500 airports. Every ten seconds a flight is updated on the OAG system. Over the coming year it will track around 28 million departures. Looking specifically at the low cost sector, all regions are showing steady growth year on year.

Low cost airlines have scheduled 19,000 more flights (3.5 million more seats) within Asia Pacific; 17,500 more flights (2 million more seats) within North America; and 25,700 more flights (4.9 million more seats) within Europe. A total of 2.51 million flights are scheduled this month, topping the previous industry high of 2.49 million reported for August 2006.

Within this global figure of all scheduled passenger flight operations, the low cost sector shows a 22% increase of over 70,000 more flights year over year and a 26% rise in the number of seats available, representing an additional 12 million low cost seats. The figures are revealed in the latest OAG Quarterly Airline Traffic Statistics, a regular snapshot of airline activity around the world.

Flight information and data solutions company OAG collates data from more than 1000 scheduled airlines, on a daily basis, which gives an overview of anticipated travel demand. Joseph F. Laughlin, Vice President Sales commented "May clearly shows the continued schedule expansion in the International and low cost sectors while the America's has experienced relatively modest growth."

Regional Growth
Regionally, this month there are over 29,000 more flights within Europe offering 5.5 million more seats, an increase of 5% and 8% respectively over May 2006. Asia/Pacific continues to show strong growth within the region, with 38,000 more flights and 6.2 million more seats, increases of 8% and 9% respectively. North America, while showing a relatively modest growth in percentage terms for flights and seats at 3% for both, represents an additional 2.5 million additional seats on 26,000 more domestic flights.

Growth is especially strong within the Middle East region and for international flights to and from Africa. OAG statistics for this month show there is an increase of 13% in the number of intra-regional flights within the Middle East, representing 4,000 flights and a half million seats. International flight operations to and from Africa rose by 14%, or 3,300 flights, offering 13% more capacity, or 600,000 more seats.

Route Growth
With the imminent start of Open Skies across the Atlantic, it is interesting to note that transatlantic traffic for May 2007 shows one of the highest increases of all the major routes: up by 6%, or 1,400 more flights a month involving over 420,000 more seats. In sheer size, the most noteworthy route showing a year on year increase is for flights between Western Europe and Africa. This month there are over 2,200 more flights scheduled between these two continents, up 13%, and over 360,000 more seats available. (