FCM report sees global seat capacity soar in 2024

FCM report sees global seat capacity soar in 2024

Seat capacity in Europe to be the only region in decline

Travel management company FCM has announced its Q3 travel trend report.

It revealed the continued trend from H1 that shows "rapid" travel growth from late 2021. 

Whilst travel demand was growing and positive, the increases have moderated for a third quarter, according to FCM Consulting’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report.

The key outtake showed that Q1 of 2024 is forecast to be an extra 71.8 million seats globally than 2019, for the same period, up 5.3%. 

However, the final 2023 seat capacity is forecast to be down 2.2% on 2019.

Europe is the only region with reduced capacity, down 2%. Though, throughout the rest of the world, Africa leads the way with a predicted increase of 14%, followed by Middle East which is up 11%, and Asia (7% increase).

One of the biggest obstacles the industry has faced during this recovery period has been lack of airline capacity and competition. 

Conditions are said to be improving, which is expected to benefit business travellers as the years progress, but the concern remains regarding the lack of available seats on services between Australia and Europe, via the Middle East.

IATA reported in August 2023 that global Passenger Load Factors (PLF) were at 84.6%, with domestic PLF sat at 83.5%, and international PLF reporting 85.4%. 

Domestic PLF across major markets was led by the USA at 84.5 per cent. International PLF was led by North America at 87.7%, as the highest performing region compared to the lowest, which was Africa at 76.2%.

Amadeus reported in August of this year that hotel occupancy levels averaged 68% per month in 2023. 

Over the past six months corporate average room rates (ARR) have plateaued, which signals rate stability. 

January to September, 2023 ARR compared to 2022 in Europe has been USD$194, and the Middle East and Africa has been USD$203.

Car hire saw the overall global average daily rate (ADR) has increased by 4% YTD**-2023 versus 2022. The ADR forecast is rate increases will stabilise to an increase of 2-3% in 2024.

Andy Hegley, managing director of FCM UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, said: “This continuous growth throughout the travel industry is encouraging and something we all counted on. 

"Although Europe’s seat capacity has dipped in the last quarter, I expect that will be a temporary and will soon increase, especially with the recent news of London Stansted Airport receiving planning permission to extend its terminal building.

“In FCM Consulting’s report, they found significant price increases in comparison to the previous quarter and year-on-year; this would be expected to happen when capacity is lowered as the demand is continuing to grow. 

"I actually see this as a positive, an indicator of a bright future for both business and leisure travel.”