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Seat capacity sky high for region’s low-cost carriers


Middle East airlines witness overall growth of two million seats in 2013.

November 18, 2013 3:26 by

Low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the Middle East region are displaying considerable 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 this year.

The findings, by Amadeus’ air traffic solutions, highlight that globally LCCs have seen an overall increase in seat capacity by 6.8 per cent in 2013, with London maintaining its position as the world’s largest LCC city by capacity, with nearly 15 million available LCC seats in the first half of 2013.

The analysis also paints a picture of strong capacity growth in Asia and modest increases across Europe and North America. Asia enjoyed the strongest growth rates when compared with other regions, with a 28 per cent overall increase, reaching 129 million departing LCC seats in the first six months of 2013.

Major economies in Asia, including Indonesia (capacity up by 12.3 million seats), India (capacity up by three million seats), Thailand (capacity up by two million seats) and Malaysia (capacity up by 1.8 million) were responsible for half of the overall global LCC capacity growth.

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.

Alexandre Jorre, LCC specialist at Amadeus, says: “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.”

In a recent interview, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of Dubai-based LCC flydubai, said that while there aren’t enough flights in the region when compared with Europe, there is still plenty of untapped demand for mid-range travel from Dubai. During Dubai Airshow this week, the low-budget carrier, which launched business class services and 15 new destinations in 2013, signed a deal for 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes.

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