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European airlines' long cold winter in prospect

Premium Analysis

Europe is now into a sixth consecutive week of deepening year-on-year cuts in seat numbers. Its reduction of -60.3% in the week of 28-Sep-2020 is only fractionally worse than last week's -60.1%, but comes when all other regions have narrowed the rate of decline compared with last week.

Europe's cut this week is deeper than North America's -54.9% and Asia Pacific's -36.9%, but only a bit narrower than Latin America's -63.4%, the Middle East's -62.5% and Africa's -60.6%.

European capacity derived from schedules filed with OAG for Oct-2020 is currently projected to be at 42% of 2019 levels, similar to Sep-2020's 41%, but not back to the 45% level reached in Aug-2020. Moreover, data from ACI Europe indicate that traffic has been performing worse than capacity by 10 to 12 ppts.

Peak recovery for Europe's air traffic was in mid Aug-2020, since when both seat numbers and passenger numbers have fallen at a deepening year-on-year rate. Global forward bookings data from IATA suggest 4Q2020 could be worse than 3Q2020.

Europe's airlines are facing a long and cold winter.

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