AEA member airlines increase seat capacity by 5.5 % in summer 2016
The members of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) will offer 3. 8 % more flights and 5. 5 % more seats in the upcoming summer season. In total 254 new routes will be launched.
During the upcoming summer season that starts at the end of March and lasts until the end of October, AEA member airlines will offer 273,511 million seats. This is an increase of 5. 5 % over the same period in 2015. The number of flights scheduled to operate in this period will rise by 3.8 % to 1.76 million.
Strong Intercontinental expansion
The largest rate of expansion is on long haul routes, with a 6.7 % increase in flights spread over 55 new intercontinental connections between Europe and overseas destinations. Strong capacity increases are scheduled to destinations in Central America (+31.1 %) and the Caribbean region (+ 14.0 %). The USA and China are also showing double digit growth in capacity additions in S16. However, the flight offer to Brazil and Japan is not expanding in S16.
European offer remains buoyant
No less than 200 new intra-European routes will be launched. In total, the airlines have on their intra European routes 5.1 % more seats on sale and 3.4 % more flights are scheduled. Compared to the summer of 2015, the average number of seats per aircraft now stands at 155 (+ 3 seats), reflecting the strategic decision taken by many airlines to enlarge seat capacity per aircraft and/or flight.
Many of the new routes being launched this summer in Europe are to non-hub destinations or even between regional airports. The trend to offer more seasonal routes to holiday destinations also continues in summer 2016. Greece and the Greek Islands, Italy, Spain and Scotland feature prominently in the list of new routes being served in summer 2016.
Benefit to consumers
“Thanks to the growth plans of the AEA members’ this summer, European consumers will enjoy an enlarged offer in terms of destinations and more seat capacity on existing routes”, says AEA’s CEO Athar Husain Khan. “Not only do our airlines anticipate the current growth rhythm of the market, they will also bring more competition to that market, to the benefit of the consumer. However, let us not become complacent. This industry can do much better for Europe provided that its competitiveness improves. Taxes imposed on airlines in Europe are too high, growth is slowed by ground infrastructure and ATC restrictions, and regulation is often very burdensome. The new aviation policy discussion that will soon start in the European Parliament provides us with a unique momentum to check-in for the flight forward.”