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Airlines slowing capacity growth as 2011 draws to a close - LCCs buck the trend

8-Nov-2011

The world's airlines are paring back capacity deployment this month, growing their available seat kilometres (ASK) by 5.5% year-on-year - the slowest pace of growth this year. According to Innovata, the world's airlines are scheduling just a 3% increase in flights and a 4.5% increase in seating capacity. It follows last week's warning from IATA that it is "still expecting a general weakening in passenger traffic as we head toward the year-end”.

However, the world's LCC continue to buck the global trend, expanding their flights, seats and ASKs by 5.6%, 6.3% and 7.4%, respectively, year-on-year. By seats per week, LCCs now command 22.3% of global aviation. There are a few exceptions to the LCC growth rule, with Ryanair and easyJet enacting seasonal capacity reductions, though this year's cutbacks are particularly harsh.

Global growth in worldwide ASKs, seats and flights (% change year-on-year): Apr-2011 to Nov-2011

SkyTeam growing

The SkyTeam Alliance, which continues to add members, has seen its share of global seats rise to 16.4%, but it still trails Star Alliance's 23.6% share. The oneworld alliance meanwhile continues to cede capacity share.

LCC vs Unaligned vs Alliances capacity and shares (%) of global aviation: Nov-2010 vs Nov-2011*

 Alliance  Time Series  Nov-10  Nov-11  % Change % of Totals  Variance
Nov-10 Nov-11
Oneworld Flights per Week 54,928 56,041 2.0% 9.8% 9.7% -0.1%
  Seats per Week 7,663,878 7,828,075 2.1% 11.0% 10.7% -0.2%
  ASKs per Week 16,986,245,841 17,633,302,403 3.8% 14.4% 14.1% -0.2%
SkyTeam Alliance Flights per Week 80,176 91,190 13.7% 14.3% 15.8% 1.5%
  Seats per Week 10,088,131 11,999,797 18.9% 14.4% 16.4% 2.0%
  ASKs per Week 19,028,053,398 22,317,896,282 17.3% 16.1% 17.9% 1.8%
Star Alliance Flights per Week 143,731 140,639 -2.2% 25.7% 24.4% -1.3%
  Seats per Week 17,212,707 17,202,800 -0.1% 24.6% 23.6% -1.1%
  ASKs per Week 31,020,898,714 31,893,461,063 2.8% 26.3% 25.6% -0.7%
Low Cost Carriers Flights per Week 105,693 111,611 5.6% 18.9% 19.4% 0.5%
  Seats per Week 15,349,722 16,311,195 6.3% 22.0% 22.3% 0.4%
  ASKs per Week 18,284,891,593 19,641,317,442 7.4% 15.5% 15.8% 0.3%
Un-aligned Carriers Flights per Week 175,299 176,987 1.0% 31.3% 30.7% -0.6%
  Seats per Week 19,555,522 19,653,038 0.5% 28.0% 26.9% -1.1%
  ASKs per Week 32,847,620,612 33,211,388,822 1.1% 27.8% 26.6% -1.2%

Fast moving LCCs

Six of the top 25 LCC are growing at rates greater than 20% year-on-year, led by Indigo's astonishing 52.7% increase.

NB: CAPA displays LCC market share growth since 2001 by country or region on the LCC tabs of each country or region page. Type a country into the CAPA Profiles box near the top of this page and click the LCC tab. View the Australia example.

Top 25 LCCs worldwide by capacity (ASKs/week): Nov-2010 vs Nov-2011*

        World Ranking  
Airline Nov-10 Nov-11 %change Nov-10 Nov-11 Variance
Southwest Airlines 3,047,074,668 3,058,633,465 0.4% 1 1 -
Ryanair 1,609,562,607 1,521,713,986 -5.5% 2 2 -
JetBlue Airways 995,616,642 1,152,953,032 15.8% 3 3 -
easyJet 951,896,315 927,823,071 -2.5% 4 5 -1
Gol 890,273,086 980,319,034 10.1% 5 4 +1
Air Berlin 829,491,166 818,307,202 -1.3% 6 6 -
AirTran Airways 726,652,289 750,027,291 3.2% 7 7 -
WestJet 623,018,735 652,302,162 4.7% 8 8 -
Jetstar Airways 558,272,799 595,158,056 6.6% 9 9 -
Virgin Australia 541,436,642 571,510,930 5.6% 10 10 -
Lion Airlines 468,196,231 502,130,652 7.2% 11 12 -1
AirAsia 462,444,741 510,961,248 10.5% 12 11 +1
Frontier Airlines 433,481,155 434,863,084 0.3% 13 13 -
Condor 375,625,951 429,498,263 14.3% 14 14 -
Thomsonfly 373,953,146 326,997,346 -12.6% 15 18 -3
Norwegian 339,806,426 401,843,235 18.3% 16 15 +1
Spirit Airlines 271,672,970 297,675,773 9.6% 17 20 -3
Virgin America 257,607,894 336,251,478 30.5% 18 17 +1
Wizz Air 245,890,704 302,181,115 22.9% 19 19 -
Indigo 238,082,618 363,580,357 52.7% 20 16 +4
Vueling Airlines 226,986,931 213,257,457 -6.0% 21 24 -3
Air Arabia 218,585,518 240,200,250 9.9% 22 23 -1
Volaris 190,773,601 279,486,990 46.5% 23 21 +2
SpiceJet 190,473,018 271,975,978 42.8% 24 22 +2
CEBU Pacific Air 159,397,282 202,194,816 26.8% n/a 25 n/a
GRAND TOTAL 15,226,273,133 16,141,846,275 6.0%      

Top 25 movers

The global top 25 airlines list is largely unchanged from last November, with Delta heading the list from American Airlines. As predicted by CAPA last month, Emirates has gone past United, and Lufthansa may do likewise in coming months, though combined with Continental, the US carrier moves to the top of the list.

The fastest growing carrier in the top flight is Turkish Airlines with another near 30% year-on-year expansion this month.

Global Top 25 Airlines by capacity per week (ASK) – Nov-2010 vs Nov-2011*

 Airline  Nov-10  Nov-11  % change World Ranking  Variance
Nov-10 Nov-11
Delta Air Lines 6,912,434,536 6,665,489,997 -3.6% 1 1 -
American Airlines 5,004,070,946 4,983,590,270 -0.4% 2 2 -
Emirates 3,790,348,026 4,139,909,327 9.2% 4 3 +1
United Airlines 4,216,771,052 3,944,345,222 -6.5% 3 4 -1
Lufthansa 3,286,342,268 3,530,516,782 7.4% 6 5 +1
Continental Airlines 3,341,888,409 3,329,855,481 -0.4% 5 6 -1
Southwest Airlines 3,047,074,668 3,058,633,465 0.4% 7 7 -
Air France 2,922,263,363 3,026,797,329 3.6% 8 8 -
British Airways 2,863,678,338 3,012,226,917 5.2% 9 9 -
US Airways 2,619,039,956 2,611,175,932 -0.3% 10 10 -
China Southern Airlines 2,145,789,062 2,463,418,493 14.8% 12 11 +1
Cathay Pacific Airways 2,165,165,878 2,450,130,478 13.2% 11 12 -1
Singapore Airlines 2,122,010,788 2,228,478,560 5.0% 13 13 -
Air China 1,889,043,178 2,086,536,138 10.5% 15 14 +1
Qantas Airways 1,917,552,464 1,964,218,638 2.4% 14 15 -1
KLM 1,825,229,976 1,874,714,798 2.7% 16 16 -
China Eastern Airlines 1,681,294,197 1,862,974,593 10.8% 18 17 +1
Korean Air Lines 1,667,355,814 1,831,472,482 9.8% 20 18 +2
Air Canada 1,735,607,734 1,750,962,612 0.9% 17 19 -2
All Nippon Airways 1,673,104,766 1,695,610,012 1.3% 19 20 -1
Thai Airways 1,586,987,560 1,652,217,742 4.1% 22 21 +1
Qatar Airways 1,416,739,476 1,611,435,616 13.7% n/a 22 n/a
Turkish Airlines 1,229,645,553 1,585,870,907 29.0% n/a 23 n/a
Japan Airlines 1,326,592,226 1,531,632,950 15.5% n/a 24 n/a
Ryanair 1,609,562,607 1,521,713,986 -5.5% 21 25 -4
GRAND TOTAL 63,995,592,840 66,413,928,728 3.8%      

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