Low Cost Airlines Are Growing Fast

[25th July 2008]

Airport scene

Budget airlines around the world continue to grow quickly despite the economic downturn new figures reveal.

The latest OAG Aviation Statistics, based on data from more than 900 scheduled airlines, show that no frills airlines grew by 13% in July 2008 compared to July 2007 in both flight frequencies and passenger capacity.

Even in the USA, where the airline industry has been hit harder than in any other region, low cost airlines showed a 4% growth in frequencies and 3% growth in capacity. But overall there were 21,500 fewer domestic flights in the US.

"The OAG figures for July reveal signs of an impending downturn in the aviation industry," comments OAG chief operating officer, Steve Casley. "While some regions continue to show steady growth, the impact from the current climate in the United States is already contributing to an overall slowdown in the global figures and on the key long-haul routes between North America and hubs in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The full impact will be clearer when we publish our forecast for the 4th quarter."

Transatlantic flights are up by just 1% in July and capacity by just 2%. But flights between Western Europe and the Middle East are up by 11%, and flights between Western Europe and Asia Pacific by 6%.

India is growing fastest, with a whopping 34% increase in flights to and from the country. In the Middle East there was a 20% growth in international flights, but a 4% fall in flights within the area.

Low cost airlines grew strongly in France and Poland. In France there were 428,000 more international seats, with 84% of these in the low cost sector. Poland had 492,000 more international seats, with about half on budget airlines.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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