Friday, August 12 will be the busiest day of the year in terms of the number of airline seats available worldwide, a leading analyst has predicted.
John Grant, chief analyst at OAG, calculates that 16.1 million seats are currently available for that date. The exact number is likely to change as airlines adjust their schedules, with an average of 0.6 per cent of capacity currently being removed each week.
The busiest day for aviation before the corona pandemic was also the second Friday in August: August 9, 2019, when data analyst Cirium took off with 17 million passengers worldwide.
The actual number of air travelers on August 12, 2022 will be significantly lower, as around one in five seats is expected to be empty – which corresponds to a figure of around 13 million passengers.
In 2021, says Mr Grant, “the busiest day was a very unusual December 17”. On the penultimate Friday before Christmas, 12.5 million seats were offered with around nine million passengers.
His blog also reports, “After a few weeks of getting closer and closer to 90 million seats per week, we finally got there with 90.7 million seats on offer.”
During the pre-pandemic peak week for availability, which began on July 29, 2019, capacity reached 119 million seats.
“Despite the groundbreaking number, bottlenecks of all kinds exist worldwide that are impacting a full travel recovery,” he writes.
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“In August, this equates to about 60,000 fewer seats to be sold and likely some higher selling rates on select services to offset the lost seats,” forecasts Mr Grant.
The UK has seven times more airports than a year ago when the ban on international holiday travel was still in place.
Global airline capacity is now at five-sixths of the corresponding week in 2019.
Three of the regions that have historically had relatively low air traffic are even above 2019 levels: Central and West Africa (up 26 percent), Central America (up 7 percent), and upper South America (up 6 percent). ).
Japan reports the largest drop in flight capacity this week, with a 7 percent drop in seats, keeping it at about two-thirds of capacity for the same week in 2019. Mr Grant says: “Japan is now the weakest recovering market, top 20 countries.”
The OAG analyst concludes: “In the next few weeks (with some luck and loosening in China) we should be up to 95 million seats per week and confident of keeping this level stable for at least the next few months during the peak season persists in summer.
“We still have a journey ahead of us, but progress is progress.”