European air traffic forecast cut. Capacity recovery loses momentum

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IATA's Aug-2020 update of the impact of COVID-19 on European aviation forecasts a reduction of 705 million passengers, or 60%, in 2020 (the third downgrade since the forecast of -46% in Mar-2020). That was before the UK reimposed quarantine requirements on arrivals from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba.

Fluctuations in travel restrictions to/from European countries continue to weigh on consumer confidence in, and demand for, air travel.

This is becoming evident in capacity data derived from airline schedules. In the week commencing 17-Aug-2020 seat numbers are up by only 0.4% from the previous week. Moreover, European seat numbers have been hovering around 45% of their 2019 levels for three weeks. Ryanair, Europe's biggest airline by seats, is lowering its planned Sep/Oct-2020 capacity by 20%.

Europe's year-on-year reduction of -54.9% is barely changed from last week's -55.0%, still just below North America's -53.2%. Asia Pacific remains in the lead, with capacity down by 42.3%. Latin America still has the deepest cut, -72.8%, followed by Africa's -69.5% and the Middle East's -67.8%.

European capacity has extended its run of week-on-week increases into its 11th week, but the upward trend is losing momentum.

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