Airlines have lifted capacity strongly on routes within Asian and those linking the region with the Middle East this month.
Innovata schedules data for February shows that intra-Asian capacity, as measured in weekly ASKs, is 12% higher than the same month last year making it the biggest airline market by capacity. It puts it ahead of the North American domestic market, where airlines' tight grip on capacity continues with just a 3% increase.
Capacity on routes linking Asia and the Middle East is up around 15% against February 2013, as Gulf carrier expansion in the region and upheaval on the traditional Kangaroo routes continue to play out.
The capacity discipline of the US majors remains clear in the February Innovata schedules. United Airlines has kept capacity virtually flat this month, while Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have increased capacity by 2% and 3% respectively.
Gulf carriers continue to raise capacity sharply; Emirates by 11%, Qatar Airways up 19% and Etihad by more than a quarter. The big Chinese carriers also expanding strongly this month, including 14% additional capacity at both China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.
Fast developing operators such as Norwegian, Pegasus, Indigo and AirAsia X helped drive continued strong growth among the low-cost sector. Capacity among the biggest 20 low-cost sector operators by weekly ASKs in February is around 10% higher than the same month last year.
Low-cost carriers accounted for around 17% of global capacity in February Innovata schedules show. Of the alliances Oneworld members, which now include Qatar Airways and will shortly take in TAM and US Airways through their respective mergers with LAN and American Airlines, increased the alliance's capacity by 13% over the same period last year.
Tokyo Haneda airport is the busiest airport in February on a weekly seats basis, Innovata schedules show. Capacity at the Japanese hub is just ahead ahead of Beijing Capital and Atlanta airports this month.