Coronavirus Capacity Update Week Nine The Changes Keep on Coming

16 March 2020 / by John Grant

The weekend has once again been dominated by airlines making dramatic capacity cuts and cancelling operations. Many carriers have increased the frequency of their schedule updates** to OAG with more and more carriers moving to daily submissions.

Our team is seeing unprecedented changes to the market and handling a significant increase in the volume of data to verify and synchronise. We continue to work closely with our airline partners to ensure these changes can get through our systems as quickly and as accurately as possible, and out to the market.

The situation is changing quickly and is extremely fluid here’s an update of some of the changes we are seeing so far…

There are some 4.5 million fewer seats this week than seven days earlier. Cumulatively weekly capacity is now being reported at some 15% below the week of the 20th January when we started tracking changes in response to COVID-19. The chart below reflects what was scheduled in January for this week compared to what is now scheduled. Our expectation is that next weeks data snapshot will show a significant reduction week on week as airlines reach a point where all but the most essential services are dropped in major markets.

Chart 1- Scheduled Airline Capacity Changes Compared To 20th January Schedules

Scheduled airline weekly capacity

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

Detailed analysis such as we have provided in previous weeks has become particularly challenging as airlines change plans. As we write this update, IAG, easyJet and SAS in Europe are making further capacity cuts; more will follow. Looking at the top thirty country markets we have listed below those that have made the largest amount of capacity cuts week on week. Germany “leads” with some 18% of capacity cut and six of the countries listed are within IATA defined Europe which is now reported as the epicentre of the event.

Equally country markets such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which have received little coverage are now reporting significant week on week cuts.

Table 1- Largest Capacity Reductions Across Top 30 Country Markets

Largest Capacity Reductions Across Top 30 Country Markets

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

Attempting to forecast what will happen next is not easy although we certainly do not expect to see any positive data with airlines cutting capacity all the way through to the end of May. Our special Coronavirus page contains the latest data and blogs; if you're locked in at home they may be worth a read!

** Airlines– if you would like further information about our submissions process please email

Topics: Airlines, Europe

John Grant

Written by John Grant

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