Low-cost Airline Capacity Report [Infographic]

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Low-cost airline capacity shows highest increase in Asia, followed by the Middle East, and takes huge leap in Eastern Europe

  • Amadeus analysis on the first half of 2013 indicates Indonesia, India, Thailand and Malaysia collectively account for more than 50% of global LCC seat capacity growth of 6.8%
  • Middle East low-cost airline capacity sees increase of 2 million seats in 2013
  • London maintains position as world’s largest LCC city by capacity, with nearly 15 million available LCC seats in the first half of 2013

New analysis from Amadeus’ Air Traffic solution reveals that low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the Middle East are showing significant confidence in their potential for growth, having witnessed an overall increase in seat capacity* from 11.5 million in the first half of 2012 to 13.5 million during the same period in 2013.

The findings further highlight that globally, low-cost carriers (LCCs) have seen an overall increase in seat capacity of 6.8% in 2013. The analysis also paints a picture of strong capacity growth in Asia and modest increases across Europe and North America.

RegionTotal number of LCC seats 2012 (millions)Total number of LCC seats 2013 (millions)Total increase in LCC seats (millions)LCC capacity change
North America151.8154.02.21.50%
Middle East11.513.52.017.70%
South West   Pacific22.423.30.94%
South America52.752.4-0.3-0.60%

Capacity change by region. First half of 2012 compared to first half of 2013

Asia: Southern Asian countries fuel boom

Low-cost carriers in Indonesia (capacity up by 12.3 million seats), India (capacity up by 3.0 million seats), Thailand (capacity up by 2.0 million seats) and Malaysia (capacity up by 1.8 million) were responsible for half of total, global, LCC capacity growth. Asia showed the strongest growth rates of any region with a 28% overall increase to reach 129 million departing LCC seats in the first six months of 2013. When capital cities are examined, it is evident that capacity increases are being driven by emerging Asian nations. Jakarta saw the strongest absolute LCC capacity growth of any capital, increasing by 2.8 million seats or 44%, closely followed by Bangkok, up 1.2 million seats or 30%. In addition, the heavily developed Tokyo market also saw a significant increase in LCC seat capacity, which suggests the traditional focus on full service, could be changing.

Capital CityOverall LCC share of seats 2012Overall LCC share of seats 2013Absolute increase in seatsLCC capacity change
Kuala Lumpur51%52%115%

Asian capital cities experiencing the greatest LCC capacity increase

Europe: a divided landscape

Europe’s 0.8% overall LCC capacity growth masks a far more complex picture: across much of Southern Europe LCCs have reduced capacity, with Madrid seeing a fall in LCC departing seat capacity of 27%, the highest of any capital city in the region. Athens and Rome also saw significant percentage decreases. This picture contrasts sharply with the situation in much of Eastern and Northern Europe where Warsaw witnessed an enormous jump in LCC capacity, up 63% year-on-year and now representing 27% of total departing capacity from the city. Istanbul and Copenhagen also saw LCC capacity increase sharply.

LCC Capacity reduction evident across Southern Europe

Capital CityOverall LCC share of seats 2012Overall LCC share of seats 2013LCC capacity change

Three European capital cities experiencing greatest LCC capacity reduction

LCC Capacity increase evident across Northern and Eastern Europe

Capital CityOverall LCC share of seats 2012Overall LCC share of seats 2013LCC capacity change

Three European capital cities experiencing greatest LCC capacity growth

London maintains its position as the world’s leading city for LCCs

On a global basis, London’s LCC seat capacity is by far the largest of any city with nearly 15 million available LCC seats. That is roughly 1.5 times the number of available seats at the next largest LCC city, Sao Paulo. However, the rates of growth occurring at Jakarta (44%) and Kuala Lumpur (15%) suggest the third and fourth placed cities may move up the top ten ranking over coming years.

CityTotal LCC seat capacity first half of 2012Total LCC seat capacity first half of 2013LCC capacity change
1. London14,381,41014,770,1733%
2. Sao Paulo10,053,15910,751,2217%
3. Jakarta6,513,0419,380,30644%
4. Kuala   Lumpur7,116,3628,155,00515%
5. Las Vegas7,556,4167,515,394-1%
6. Denver7,107,8116,905,360-3%
7. Chicago6,541,0936,852,7035%
8. Barcelona6,681,1106,696,1570%
9. New York6,325,7896,594,4144%
10. Manila5,615,7655,743,0152%

Top 10 cities ranked by total LCC seat capacity in the first half of 2013.

Alexandre Jorre, LCC specialist, Amadeus, commented: “We see a natural boom in LCC capacity across Asia, where point-to-point air travel is largely underserved. However, across the mature markets of Europe and North America capacity is constrained, which may explain why some LCCs are considering new approaches to secure future growth.”

He continued: “With a 25% year on year rise over the first half of 2013, LCC bookings in Amadeus are growing significantly, which is a very encouraging sign that our ability to adapt to LCC distribution needs is proving attractive to both travel agents and airlines. LCCs are seizing the opportunity we offer to penetrate the high-yield business travel market and expand into new regions where they have limited brand presence. To maximize these benefits, we keep innovating, as demonstrated by the new range of light ticketing enhancements just implemented for easyJet, which keep it simple for LCCs and make it far more efficient for agents to book and service LCCs.”

Pascal Clement, Head of Travel Intelligence, Amadeus, added: “Understanding how capacity trends are changing at a detailed level is fundamental to the planning process for both airlines and airports. Deploying effective data analysis tools that can seek meaning among huge volumes of data can give companies the edge.”

Amadeus Air Traffic is part of Amadeus’ Travel Intelligence Portfolio of solutions. Based on capacity and other data sources, Amadeus Air Traffic can calculate estimates for total air passenger volume for any Origin and Destination (O&D) worldwide, including those dominated by low-cost carriers. This means airlines can plan and develop networks that respond to true passenger air traffic and meet a clear need in the market based on complete O&D data.

Low-cost airline capacity -Infographic

Infographic - Low cost carrier global seat capacity
Infographic: Low cost carrier global seat capacity. Image credit-Amadeus (click on image to expand)
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