European airline consolidation speculation returns as outlook slips

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EasyJet's raising of fresh equity, plus news that it has rejected an unsolicited takeover offer by Wizz Air, has revived speculation of European airline consolidation.

The European market is fragmented: the top seven groups have 58% of intra-European seats, compared with 87% for the intra-North America top seven.

Ultra-LCCs and Aeroflot Group now have the highest percentage of 2019 intra-Europe capacity, highlighting the advantages of very low costs and large domestic markets. Possessing neither, easyJet has one of the lowest percentages.

Meanwhile, total seat numbers in Europe are 34.4% below 2019 levels in the week of 13-Sep-2021, almost stable on last week, but the negative side of stable (a slip of 0.3ppts) and the second week of sliding after five months of a positive trend.

Europe remains in fourth place in the regional capacity recovery ranking. The Middle East, where seat capacity is down by 41.1% versus 2019, remains at the bottom. This week Asia Pacific is down by 39.2%, Africa by 32.5%, Latin America by 24.8%, and North America by 20.1%.

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