Loading

The world's biggest airlines cautious with capacity growth in March

The world's airlines are being cautious with their capacity deployment in 2012, the latest figures from Innovata show. Carriers increased their capacity by 3.6% during in March, which is slightly above IATA's latest forecast for full-year capacity growth.

Just 1.3% more flights were scheduled this month, producing seat growth of 3.1%, according to Innovata.

Worldwide capacity: Mar-2011 vs Mar-2012*

  Mar-2011 Mar-2012 % chg
Grand Total Flights per Week 576,316 583,745 1.3%
Grand Total Seats per Week 72,325,241 74,573,471 3.1%
Grand Total ASKs per Week 123,227,940,906 127,687,219,006

3.6%

For once it was not the world's LCCs driving the growth, producing the same ASKs as this time last year. Members of the global alliances are leading the charge, especially SkyTeam, whose members' ASKs are rising 15.2% year-on-year.

LCC vs Unaligned vs Alliances capacity and shares (%) of global aviation: Mar-2011 vs Mar-2012*

 Alliance    Mar-11  Mar-12   % of Totals  
% Change Mar-11 Mar-12 Variance
Oneworld Flights per Week 55,634 57,065 2.6% 9.7% 9.8% 0.1%
  Seats per Week 7,793,141 7,995,505 2.6% 10.8% 10.7% -0.1%
  ASKs per Week 17,378,768,673 17,818,365,612 2.5% 14.1% 14.0% -0.1%
SkyTeam Alliance Flights per Week 81,455 91,902 12.8% 14.1% 15.7% 1.6%
  Seats per Week 10,189,688 12,124,823 19.0% 14.1% 16.3% 2.2%
  ASKs per Week 19,540,849,958 22,508,979,904 15.2% 15.9% 17.6% 1.8%
Star Alliance Flights per Week 145,415 142,988 -1.7% 25.2% 24.5% -0.7%
  Seats per Week 17,472,897 17,464,991 0.0% 24.2% 23.4% -0.7%
  ASKs per Week 32,070,303,612 32,973,579,509 2.8% 26.0% 25.8% -0.2%
Low Cost Carriers Flights per Week 108,606 108,748 0.1% 18.8% 18.6% -0.2%
  Seats per Week 15,841,783 16,035,495 1.2% 21.9% 21.5% -0.4%
  ASKs per Week 19,132,181,998 19,160,836,073 0.1% 15.5% 15.0% -0.5%
Un-Aligned Carriers Flights per Week 185,206 183,042 -1.2% 32.1% 31.4% -0.8%
  Seats per Week 21,027,732 20,952,657 -0.4% 29.1% 28.1% -1.0%
  ASKs per Week 35,105,836,665 35,225,457,907 0.3% 28.5% 27.6% -0.9%

Delta Air Lines holds onto the top spot, though the United-Continental combination has surged into first place, owing to Delta's deeper cutbacks. Emirates is the third largest carrier (or fourth counting UA-CO as one). Other movers include China Southern Airlines, which is on the verge of joining the global Top 10 with a strong increase in capacity this month. China Eastern Airlines is also back in strong growth mode, as is Qatar Airways.

World's biggest airlines by Seats and ASKs per week: Mar-2011 vs Mar-2012*

  ASKs per Week  %
Change
Ranking  Variance
Airline Mar-11 Mar-12 Mar-11 Mar-11
Delta Air Lines 7,450,524,533 7,043,712,252 -5.5% 1 1 -
American Airlines 5,361,936,579 5,259,156,755 -1.9% 2 2 -
Emirates 3,799,448,284 4,383,541,461 15.4% 4 3 +1
United Airlines 4,300,936,364 4,272,288,988 -0.7% 3 4 -1
Continental Airlines 3,592,939,442 3,500,633,317 -2.6% 5 5 -
Lufthansa 3,431,936,760 3,457,214,917 0.7% 6 6 -
Southwest Airlines 3,360,387,397 3,378,919,648 0.6% 7 7 -
British Airways 2,809,178,917 3,015,475,077 7.3% 9 8 +1
Air France 3,007,953,213 3,003,105,183 -0.2% 8 9 -1
US Airways 2,728,678,784 2,776,126,704 1.7% 10 10 -
China Southern Airlines 2,077,448,574 2,462,908,722 18.6% 13 11 +2
Cathay Pacific Airways 2,221,522,412 2,335,502,095 5.1% 11 12 -1
Singapore Airlines 2,125,988,495 2,219,687,055 4.4% 12 13 -1
Air China 1,928,499,922 2,082,498,590 8.0% 15 14 +1
Air Canada 2,024,154,291 2,068,387,922 2.2% 14 15 -1
Qantas Airways 1,927,049,968 1,958,208,557 1.6% 16 16 -
China Eastern Airlines 1,706,879,610 1,907,416,447 11.7% 20 17 +3
KLM 1,833,581,843 1,821,411,723 -0.7% 17 18 -1
Korean Air Lines 1,660,863,060 1,791,065,938 7.8% 21 19 2
All Nippon Airways 1,716,039,838 1,721,361,617 0.3% 19 20 -1
Qatar Airways 1,456,047,017 1,660,322,736 14.0% 24 21 +3
Ryanair 1,807,821,666 1,640,128,858 -9.3% 18 22 -4
Turkish Airlines 1,395,056,621 1,617,062,755 15.9% 25 23 +2
Thai Airways 1,589,945,914 1,595,019,562 0.3% 22 24 -2
Japan Airlines 1,521,625,434 1,529,155,097 0.5% 23 25 -2
GRAND TOTAL 66,836,444,938 68,500,311,979 2.5%    

 

Ryanair has tumbled four places in the global rankings to 22nd (by ASKs) as it trims capacity. Among the LCC ranks, the biggest gainer is India's Indigo, which is remarkably on the verge of joining the global LCC Top 10 list after launching services less than six years ago (in Aug-2006).

Top 25 LCCs worldwide by capacity (ASKs/week): Mar-2011 vs Mar-2012*

 Airline ASKs per week   %
Change
Ranking   Variance
Mar-11 Mar-12 Mar-11 Mar-12
Southwest Airlines 3,360,387,397 3,378,919,648 0.6% 1 1 -
Ryanair 1,807,821,666 1,640,128,858 -9.3% 2 2 -
JetBlue 1,146,571,822 1,240,467,871 8.2% 3 3 -
easyJet 1,078,529,286 1,051,262,370 -2.5% 4 4 -
Gol 918,466,028 890,600,929 -3.0% 5 5 -
AirTran Airways 799,711,921 714,409,840 -10.7% 6 6 -
Westjet 655,389,099 700,688,221 6.9% 7 7 -
Jetstar Airways 631,786,940 603,443,852 -4.5% 8 8 -
AirAsia Bhd 491,933,202 518,205,614 5.3% 9 10 -1
Lion Airlines 469,106,677 537,352,108 14.5% 10 9 +1
Condor 381,987,715 424,133,390 11.0% 11 11 -
Frontier Airlines 357,013,545 367,281,893 2.9% 12 15 -3
Norwegian 354,489,965 401,180,571 13.2% 13 13 -
Thomsonfly 349,196,942 309,233,506 -11.4% 14 17 -3
Spirit Airlines 300,484,130 347,951,321 15.8% 15 16 -1
Virgin America 290,761,050 373,361,478 28.4% 16 14 +2
Indigo 289,885,277 408,287,547 40.8% 17 12 +5
Wizz Air 248,979,293 273,953,350 10.0% 18 19 -1
Cebu Pacific 230,247,689 273,491,192 18.8% 19 20 -1
Allegiant Air 222,793,158 269,120,297 20.8% 20 21 -1
Air Arabia 222,397,153 240,009,408 7.9% 21 24 -3
Volaris 220,273,224 246,499,422 11.9% 22 23 -1
Vueling Airlines 214,771,914 248,945,931 15.9% 23 22 +1
SpiceJet 212,263,775 275,928,329 30.0% 24 18 +6
Thai AirAsia 177,024,332 189,794,187 7.2% 25 25 -
GRAND TOTAL 15,432,273,196 15,924,651,134 3.2%