Europe aviation recovery slows. IATA says 2019 pax not before 2024

Premium Analysis

An Aug-2021 air traffic forecast for Europe from IATA assumes that movements will only return to 2019 levels in 2024 – and even then, not quite.

The big jump is expected from 2021, with movements at 51% of 2019 levels, to 2022, at 81%. Further improvement is forecast to be slower, reaching 98% in 2024.

Passenger numbers are forecast at even lower levels in 2021 and 2022, before almost returning to 2019 levels in 2024.

Europe's total seat numbers are 33.2% below 2019 levels in the week commencing 30-Aug-2021. This is another new high, but there has been little change over the past month as Europe's capacity recovery plateaus.

Europe remains in third place in the regional capacity recovery ranking. This week (week commencing 30-Aug-2021), the Middle East, where seat capacity is down by 43.2% versus 2019, remains at the bottom; Asia Pacific is down by 42.0%, Africa by 33.3%, Latin America by 25.1%, and North America by 18.5%.

Vaccinations and the easing of travel restrictions will determine the pace of the capacity recovery. However, demand for aviation is likely to be structurally changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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