ANALYSIS: Leading airline markets by capacity March

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March Innovata schedules data underlines the different pace of capacity increases between the mature and emerging markets.

Double-digit increases in capacity in March 2014 compared with the same month last year were seen in the intra-Asian market, routes linking Asia and the Middle East, and the African domestic market.

Of the mature markets only connections between Europe and Middle East - where capacity is being fuelled by the mega-Gulf carriers and their partnership strategies - had a similar rise in capacity. Carriers increased capacity less than 2% on intra-North American routes, while only 1% capacity has been added this March compared with a year ago.

The fastest growing of the established markets are links between Europe and North America, where capacity is running almost 9% higher.

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Gulf carrier Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways were among those to add capacity at the fastest rate among leading airlines, by 10% and 15% at Emirates and Qatar, and by almost a third at the albeit smaller Etihad.

Turkish Airlines also continues to lift its capacity sharply, up nearly 17% in March, putting it just outside the top 10 biggest carriers by weekly ASKs in March.

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The fast-expanding Europe low-cost operators, including the likes of Norwegian, Wizz Air and Pegasus, continue to be among those notably adding capacity at a rapid rate in March.

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Low-cost carriers - outside of any global alliance - represented nearly 18% of all capacity in March.

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Atlanta Hartsfield was the busiest airport by weekly seats in March, just ahead of the Asian pair of Tokyo Haneda and Beijing.

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