Europe aviation recovery: resilient North Atlantic demand adds belief

Premium Analysis

For a while it appeared that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was starting to reverse Europe's aviation capacity recovery from the Omicron wave of COVID-19. However, schedules now appear to suggest that European airline capacity is treading water, rather than falling to any significant degree.

Europe's seat capacity is down by 27.6% versus 2019 in the week of 21-Mar-2022. This is 1.2ppts better than the week of 14-Mar-2022 and takes Europe back to where it was before the Russian invasion in the last week of Feb-2022 (but 9.0ppts below the last week of Dec-2021).

Europe remains fifth in the regional ranking, above Asia Pacific, where capacity is down by 34.4%. Middle East capacity is down by 23.9%, Africa by 17.7%, North America by 13.5%, and Latin America by 8.6%.

There is still considerable uncertainty, and future events cannot be foreseen. However, recent IATA data on the resilience of trans Atlantic bookings and the lowering of travel restrictions add to a sense of cautious optimism that Europe's recovery is under way.

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