Airline Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics

Each month OAG produces an Airline Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics Report, flight data included is sourced via Schedules Analyzer; a cutting-edge platform for airline schedule analysis. The report contains key facts and figures including Seats by Region, Top 20 Country Pairs, Top 20 Airlines, and Top 20 Airports, plus additional information regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recovery of the travel industry. The data below is for the month of May 2022.



  • This month global capacity is scheduled to reach 413.9 million, just 15.2% behind May 2019. This represents an increase of 12.7% on last month, with strong recovery in North East Asia and Central Asia expected
    this month. Capacity in North East Asia has been fluctuating recently on a week by week basis as China copes with ongoing covid outbreaks.
  • Most recovered, by comparison to May 2019, is Central/Western Africa where capacity is now expected to be 25.5% higher than 2019 in large part because of strong growth in Nigeria's domestic market.
  • Least recovered is South East Asia where capacity is 31.9% lower than May 2019 although again this month it records strong month on month growth, with carriers increasing capacity by 15.3% on April 2022.



  • Now less than 10% behind May 2019, Spain-UK remains the largest global country pair. Carriers have added 18% more seats this month than last, and this market looks set to reach 2019 levels through the summer months.
  • In line with a recent decision to withdraw all covid entry rules, Greece has seen a considerable increase in capacity this month from two of its biggest source markets, the UK and Germany, where capacity is up by 133.2% (UK) and 86.8% (Germany) in May compared to April 2022.
  • 14 of the Top 20 largest country pairs operate within Europe, reflecting the strength of recovery taking place.
  • The UK-USA continues to see capacity added this month with carriers adding nearly 340,000 seats this month, an increase of 21.4%.
  • Germany - US has a similar increase in percentage terms with 22.8% more seats this month.



  • China's major carriers are seeing capacity return this month after several months of fluctuating demand. Shanghai based China Eastern expects the biggest recovery, with a planned increase in frequency of 59.9% compared to last month.
  • Air China has an increase of 37.4% planned and China Southern 34%. All 3 carriers remain behind their May 2019 frequency levels however.
  • Just 3 of the Top 20 largest carriers by frequency are above May 2019.
  • Ryanair, Indigo and Azul Airlines all benefit from their low cost model of operation and markets which are generating demand for regional travel.



  • Almost all of the top 20 largest airports in the world (on the basis of seats) are growing this month. Only Delhi and Dubai have capacity falling back slightly, but Delhi is sitting just above May 2019 already, with 3.8% more seats, and Dubai is close at just 1% below May 2019 levels.
  • Guangzhou, currently the only Chinese airport in the Top 20, records strongest month on month growth with an increase of 28.9% expected compared to April 2022. Guangzhou is now 21.1% behind May 2019.
  • Other airports at recovery, or close to it, are Denver, Jakarta, Mexico City and Las Vegas. Miami is most recovered, with capacity in May sitting at 24.8% above May 2019.



  • The US remains the largest domestic market this month with 78.6m seats.
  • Capacity within the USA is just 7.7% behind May 2019.
  • China's domestic capacity is very close to 2019 levels this month, with seats sitting just 0.1% below May 2019 - a matter of just 82,000 seats.
  • Most recovered of the Top 10 domestic markets is Vietnam, now with capacity at 40.4% above 2019.


Aviation recovery since the start of the pandemic has taken a different trajectory for domestic and international capacity, with domestic capacity recovering faster and sooner.


  • Strong recovery this month in China's domestic market for scheduled capacity means that globally domestic capacity is expected to be just 4.4% below May 2019, a difference of 12.5m seats.
  • Last month domestic capacity was 9% behind 2019 so there has been a considerable increase this month.
  • International capacity remains more static, at 140m seats this month against a May 2019 total of 202m, so still 30.% behind.


All data is sourced from OAG Schedules and is for the current month and previous months. Change in capacity and frequency is then calculated in each category against the same month in 2019 and against the previous month. Data is unadjusted for the leap year effect. In 2021 we moved to ranking the Top 20’s (Country Pairs, Airlines and Airports) by the current month, rather than using pre-COVID rankings.

There are six categories as defined below:

  1. Seats by Region is seat capacity for the current month to, from and within each global sub region.
  2. Top 20 Country Pairs are those international country pairs with most seat capacity based on the current month.
  3. Top 20 Airlines are the 20 largest global airlines by flights based on the current month.
  4. Top 20 Airports are the 20 largest airports by capacity based on the current month.
  5. Domestic Markets are the 10 largest markets by seats.
  6. COVID19 impacts domestic and international by month.

Each category includes a comparison in each of the above categories against the previous month, to highlight where frequency and capacity may be starting to recover.

Data for May 2022 is based on the OAG Schedules data as of 9th May 2022.


  • The USA is edging closer to recovery, with capacity this month sitting at just 5% below February 2019 levels.
  • China has moved back into recovery again, with capacity up by 8%.
  • India, Indonesia and Brazil are all sitting at a similar level, between 16-21% below 2019.
  • Of the largest domestic markets, Canada is still furthest away from recovery.