Each month OAG produces an Airline Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics Report, flight data included is sourced via Schedules Analyser; 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 September 2023.



  • This month, global capacity will decrease on last month, falling to 481.8m, this is an decrease of 6.4% on last month.  In terms of the recovery against 2019, global capacity for September 2023 is 1.9% behind the same month in 2019.
  • September is traditionally a weaker month than August as the peak northern hemisphere travel period is over therefore it is no surprise that all but one region has capacity dropping in September 2023 when compared to August 2023. Southern Africa is the one region bucking the trend which is up 0.1% on last month. 
  • In terms of traffic recovery compared to 2019, 10 regions are ahead of September 2019 capacity and seven are behind 2019 levels. The top markets for recovery are Central Asia, up 40.8% on 2019 and Central America, up 16.8% on 2019, which are the same two top performing regions last month in terms of 2019 recovery. Three markets are more than 10% behind September 2019: Southern Africa (-16.3%), Eastern/Central Europe (-17.0%) and South East Asia (-17.5%). 



  • Just three of the Top 20 country pairs have increased capacity on last month:
    • Germany-Italy (+7.7%)
    • France-Italy (+4.0%)
    • Germany-UK (+0.1%)
  • This month 13 of the 20 country pairs will be ahead of the same month in 2019, the top three country pairs compared to September 2019 are:
    • UK-Turkey (+43.9%)
    • UK-Greece (+30.3%)
    • Mexico-USA (+26.3%).
  • The three slowest recovering country pairs when compared to September 2019 are all German capacity to other European countries:
    • Germany-Spain (-7.7%)
    • Germany-Italy (-18.9%)
    • Germany-UK (-22.4%)



  • Lufthansa is the only airline in the world's Top 20 largest airlines operating a higher frequency than last month, up 0.7% on last month.  
  • The top performing airlines in terms of frequency compared to September 2019 are two of the world's largest LCCs - IndiGo and Ryanair, up 34.0% and 28.9% respectively.  
  • Only two other airlines in the Top 20 are more than 10% above 2019 levels, namely Air China (+25.3%) and Turkish Airlines (+12.3%).
  • 10 of the Top 20 airlines are behind 2019 levels, the three airlines this month which have recovered the least compared to same month in 2019 are British Airways (-18.5%), Lufthansa (-19.3%) and Air Canada (-32.1%). 



  • All of the Top 20 airports are down compared to last month, ranging from -0.5% to -9.7%.  The airports with the lowest rate of decline compared to last month are two of the Chinese airports, Shenzhen (SZX) which is down by just -0.5% and Beijing (PEK) by -1.0%. 
  • The top two performing airports in terms of recovery vs 2019 are Denver (DEN), which is up 17.5% this month and Shenzhen (SZX) which is up 13.4% this month compared to September 2019.
  • There are six more airports in the Top 20 which are above 2019,  namely Istanbul (IST), Dallas (DFW), Dubai (DXB), New York (JFK), Guangzhou (CAN), and Atlanta (ATL) with recoveries ranging from +10.7% to +0.1% compared to 2019. Beijing (PEK) has the slowest rate of recovery when compared to 2019,  this month the airport is -31.8% compared to the same month in 2019.



  • Five out of the 10 largest domestic markets have recovered against 2019 levels. Highest of these are Brazil, where capacity is 18.6% ahead of 2019, then China at 13.6% above 2019 and in third position in terms of recovery is India which is 9.6% above 2019 levels.
  • Of the 5 domestic markets which have not recovered against 2019, only one market is more than 10% behind 2019, namely Mexico at -10.8%, the other four domestic markets Indonesia, Canada,  Australia and Japan have recoveries ranging from -1.0% to -3.8%.  
  • The largest domestic market in September 2023 is the USA with 84.2m seats, China is the second largest with 69.8m and third is India with 15.2m seats. 



  • Globally, domestic seats are now 1.6% higher than September 2019 whilst international seats are still a little behind at -6.7% down on 2019.  The gap between 2023 and 2019 is now at it's narrowest which suggests the recovery in international capacity is on an upward trajectory.

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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 September 2023 is based on the OAG Schedules data as of 14th September 2023.