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‘Global warming` fears fail to dampen demand for air travel

World leaders seeking to make political capital from global warming issues are making little headway with consumers, latest figures from aviation analysts OAG suggest. Demand for air travel is at its…

World leaders seeking to make political capital from global warming issues are making little headway with consumers, latest figures from aviation analysts OAG suggest. Demand for air travel is at its highest October level since 9/11.

Worldwide, the number of flights timetabled for this month is three per cent higher than in October last year. An extra 70,000-plus services takes the total to more than 2.4 million, the highest October figure for more than five years.

Using sophisticated “yield management” systems to predict global travel patterns, airlines are looking to fill more than 283 million seats this month, 11 million more than a year ago.

“With every empty seat having a direct impact on aviation revenues, airlines have become supremely proficient at gauging consumers’ appetite for travel,” says Duncan Alexander, managing director Business Development at OAG. “It would seem that they are better than politicians at judging the public mood.”

“In the 21st century, air travel is an economic necessity, not a luxury. The aviation industry as a whole continues to make enormous efforts to reduce its impact on the environment, and business and leisure travellers alike clearly understand and appreciate that fact.”

Ironically, air travel to and from the oil-rich Middle East is showing the biggest increase. The number of flights scheduled for the region this month is 15 per cent higher than it was a year ago.

The number of October flights to and from the Asia-Pacific region is 12 per cent higher, there are 11 per cent more flights to and from Africa, and the figure for Europe is nine per cent up on October 2005.

The figures are revealed in OAG’s latest Quarterly Airline Traffic Statistics, a regular snapshot of airline activity around the world. OAG collates data from more than 1000 scheduled airlines, on a daily basis, to give an overview of anticipated travel demand.

Of the major aviation markets, only the Americas are bucking the global trend. The number of October flights to and from the USA and Canada is just two per cent higher than a year ago, while the number of services to and from South and Central America has actually decreased by two per cent.

“Our assessment is that this is a product of economics – and, in the case of North America, of continuing security concerns – rather than a question of a sudden increase in environmental awareness,” says Alexander.

In national terms, India shows the most dramatic growth in demand for air travel. The world’s airlines have timetabled 14 per cent more services to and from the country but, within India, the number of October flights is up 46 per cent.

Low-cost carriers continue to attract rapidly-growing numbers. Worldwide, the number of budget flights on offer this month is 17 per cent higher than in October 2005. In the burgeoning internal markets of China and India, demand for low-cost travel is rocketing – domestic flight operations are up 466 per cent and 254 per cent respectively.

OAG Quarterly Airline Statistics October 2006

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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