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European airlines' capacity growth out of sync with demand

Premium Analysis

Europe's airlines continue to grow capacity in the market, continuing the climb from Apr/May-2020, when the underlying trend was approximately 90% below 2019 levels.

Based on filed schedules, Europe's total capacity is scheduled to be 13.3 million seats in the week commencing 20-Jul-2020 – the highest since mid Mar-2020. Alternatively, the year-on-year reduction of 63.8% is the narrowest since mid Mar-2020.

Three regions have deeper cuts than Europe, while two are bouncing back more quickly. Africa has the deepest cut, down by 74.9%, followed by Latin America's 74.8% cut and the Middle East's drop of 69.8%. Seat numbers are down by 56.1% in North America and by 42.6% in Asia Pacific (still the only region at more than 50% of 2019 levels).

This week's seat count in Europe derived from schedules filed at the start of this week is lower than indicated a week ago for this week. Previously during the crisis, there had been no such changes in the final week. Europe's airlines are hanging on to schedules until the last minute to maximise capacity flexibility, reflecting uncertain demand patterns.

Nevertheless, demand is still not returning in line with capacity.

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