Innovata schedules data for October underscores the continued tight capacity among US operators as the region's three biggest carriers - United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines - increased capacity as measured in ASKs by under 2%. Another US carrier Southwest Airlines lifted its capacity 4% in October over the same month last year.
A number of operators though continue to lift capacity by double-digit rates. Emriates, the third largest operator in the world by monthly ASKs, lifted capacity nearly 14% over October 2012 levels, while its Gulf rival Qatar Airways increased capacity more than a fifth. Ryanair's capacity is running 9% above October 2012 levels while Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Turkish Airlines all increased capacity by double-digit rates.
The tight capacity in the North American market is also evident in a breakdown between different regional markets. Capacity was fractionally down in October compared with the same month last year on intra-North American flights. Strict capacity discipline, in part through consolidation, has driven the recent improvement in US carrier financial fortunes, underlined further in IATA's latest profits outlook. The airline body now sees North American carriers as the most profitable region generating profits of $4.9 billion, contributing almost half of total expected industry profits.
While overall capacity among the biggest 30 airlines globally was increased 5.5% in October, the faster growth of low-cost carriers is evident as collective capacity among the biggest budget sector operators was lifted almost 10% over October 2012 levels. Much of that extra capacity is driven by some of the emerging smaller low-cost operators. The five biggest airlines increased capacity by single digit rates compared with October 2012 levels. But the majority of other operators among the top 30 biggest low-cost carriers lifted capacity by double-digit rates. The 38% capacity increase at Norwegian in part reflects its launch of long-haul operations.
Beijing Airport was fractionally ahead of the world's biggest airport Atlanta in October as measured in weekly departing seats the October Innovata schedules data shows.