Luton-based aviation statistics company OAG has published what amounts to the most dismal ever figures regarding the air transport business.  November looks awful.

The biggest reductions this month come from European carriers: easyJet is now back down to just 8% of November 2019 capacity levels; British Airways is down to less than 20% of last year’s levels; and Lufthansa is down to just 22% of last year’s capacity. Air France has taken capacity back to just under 30% of last November.

Each of these carriers has made significant reductions in the last month, totalling 32,000 fewer flights this month than were scheduled for last month. The ripple effect of this on airline staff, airport operators and associated companies in their respective supply chains is substantial.

The figures in percentages can be misleading. It is not a surprise to see the LATAM Group reporting frequency will increase this month on last month, taking the year-on-year position up to 57%, whilst the US big carriers all record frequency growth this month. Delta is faring best in terms of year-on-year comparisons, with November flights just 36% below last November.

The largest hub in November 2019 was Beijing PEK, which is currently sitting at 42% below last November’s capacity level. It is not the biggest this November, however, as Guangzhou has overtaken it, with 3.5m seats. Guangzhou has recovered faster as it has a much higher proportion of domestic capacity than Beijing.

The impact of the European lockdowns is evident across the big European hubs with Heathrow down 41% compared to last month, Frankfurt by 33% and Paris CDG by 34%. Heathrow has seen nearly 768,000 seats removed between October and November, taking the hub back down to 73% below November 2019 levels.  The only hub airports reporting any capacity increase this month are Atlanta, Los Angeles, Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok.

The stats in detail: