European aviation: capacity and traffic recoveries on a plateau

Premium Analysis

Europe's aviation recovery remains on a plateau, with no significant change in the percentage of 2019 seat numbers or passenger numbers since early Aug-2021.

Total seat numbers in Europe are 34.2% below 2019 levels in the week of 20-Sep-2021, the eighth week in the region of -34% (after three months of a positive trend before that).

Europe remains in fourth place in the regional capacity recovery ranking. Asia Pacific, where seat capacity is down by 40.0% versus 2019, has slipped to the bottom. The Middle East is down by 39.4%, Africa by 32.6%, Latin America by 25.3% and North America by 20.0% this week.

Airport passenger numbers in Europe were down by 41% versus 2019 in the week of 5-Sep-2021, according to the most recently available data from ACI Europe. The traffic recovery is weakest in the UK, in spite of an improving trend. It is stronger in Southern Europe than in northern markets and strongest in non-EU Eastern Europe.

The easing of international travel restrictions by the UK from 4-Oct-2021 and by the US in early Nov-2021 may help to nudge Europe up from its plateau.

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