South America the hotspot as global air travel grows

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The Independent Travel

Global air travel is set to continue its upward trend this month, according to data from airline analyst OAG Aviation.

Low-cost airlines account for around 10 percent of the growth, with 6.1 million more low-cost seats available this month than there were a year ago. In total, 272.2 million seats will be available globally, up five percent from February 2009 and almost 40 million more than last month. In total, 2.2 million flights will take to the skies, up four percent from the same month last year.

The growth in flights has been led by an increase in travel to the South America and the Middle East. Flights to Sao Paulo and Bogota have grown by 24 percent and 17 percent respectively, whilst Abu Dhabi has also posted a 24 percent increase in flights. In total, nearly 1.2 million seats will be available in and out of  Abu Dhabi International Airport this month, 21 percent more than this time in 2009.

Analysis of airline routes shows a number of new destinations - 174 new routes have been launched in the Middle East, many by Chinese carriers. Growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa has been driven by the growth in low-cost airlines, although travel between Western Europe and North America has posted another fall in flights of 5 percent year on year. Flights between Europe and Asia have also fallen two percent, although this may be due to the growth in flights between Europe and Middle Eastern hubs; over 1000 more planes will fly the route compared to this time last year.

OAG Aviation compiles monthly data from global airline schedules to produce its monthly OAG FACTS (Frequency & Capacity Trend Statistics) report.