Saturday, August 9, 2008

60 Million Fewer Airlines Seats at End of 2008

Booking that cherished aisle or window seat may prove more difficult later this year for jetsetters and business travellers alike, as the world’s airlines slash capacity to offset record fuel costs.

Carriers will offer customers 59.7m fewer seats in the fourth quarter than they had a year earlier, dropping both the number of flights and seats by 7 per cent, according to figures analysed and published by the Official Airline Guide.

The sharp decline interrupts five years of steady expansion and raises concerns that it may take years for the industry to rebuild flight schedules battered by the surge in the cost of fuel.

The commodity’s rise has forced airlines to take increasingly desperate measures, from eliminating unprofitable routes to charging passengers for soft drinks and for checking-in baggage.

“The data speaks for itself,” Steve Casley, the guide’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“It took a good three years for the industry to recover from the downturn in 2001, when it had a 5 per cent drop in capacity and a 7 per cent drop in flights.”

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Nomadic Matt said...

great...another excuse to raise prices!