Posted on December 17, 2016

Gulf airlines are reportedly to slow capacity growth on European routes to the lowest level in more than a decade next year.

After seating capacity on European routes rose nearly six-fold over the past 12 years, growth from Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways will drop to 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to figures compiled by travel-data provider Diio and cited by Bloomberg. That’s the slowest expansion in the region since at least 2004, it said, adding that an ailing oil industry and concerns about terrorism continue to depress demand in the market.

It also quoted Emirates chairman Tim Clark as saying that Chinese tour groups have largely ceased visiting Europe in the wake of bombings and shootings spanning France to Turkey. “They travel en masse, 100, 200, 300,” Clark said in an interview in London. “When Ankara happened, when Paris happened, when Nice happened, they stopped. Not into a trickle - they stopped entirely.” Bloomberg said Emirates will increase its European capacity 3.2 percent in the first quarter from 11.6 percent, with Clark even considering capacity reductions on European routes. “With so much overcapacity, it’s tough for everybody,” he said.

Bloomberg added that Etihad will add just 1.5 percent more seats to Europe in the first quarter, declining from 6.1 percent in the same period in 2015, while Qatar Airways intends a 7.4 percent boost, down from 20.5 percent a year earlier.

source: Arabian Business