Airlines worldwide are offering more capacity than at any time in the past five years after adding more seats to midyear flight schedules...

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Airlines worldwide are offering more capacity than at any time in the past five years after adding more seats to midyear flight schedules than a year ago. Demand is being driven by low-fare carriers.

Airlines are offering more than 280 million seats this month, compared with 267 million in July 2004, according to figures from the U.K.-based Official Airline Guide, which collects data from more than 1,000 carriers around the world.

Air travel is recovering after the three-year slump brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., the war in Iraq and severe acute respiratory syndrome in Asia. Low-cost carriers such as Dublin-based Ryanair and AirAsia, a Kuala Lumpur-based airline operating in southeast Asia, are helping boost demand from passengers.

“The underlying trend of year-on-year growth since 2001 is an indication of steadily increasing airline-industry confidence,” said Duncan Alexander, managing director of business development for the Official Airline Guide.

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Half of the extra 5 million low-fare seats on offer this month are in Europe, representing more than two-thirds of the growth in the region’s overall capacity.

Combined, carriers added 4.5 million seats in Asia this month and 3.9 million in Europe.