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European aviation falls further behind. Vaccine news raises hopes

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EUROCONTROL's Nov-2020 forecasts for air traffic movements over the next five years suggest that traffic will not return to 2019 levels before 2026 under its most likely scenario. Its most optimistic scenario reaches this level in 2024, but its least positive scenario pushes that threshold back to 2029.

The possibility that recovery to 2019 levels could take a whole decade is a gloomy one for European aviation at a time when the continent's airline seat capacity is down by more than any other world region

Europe's year-on-year cut in seat capacity widened to -69.8% in the week of 9-Nov-2020, 9.4ppts below the Middle East on -60.4%. Africa is -58.4%, Latin America -50.1%, North America -48.7%, and Asia Pacific is -38.8%.

Moreover, the outlook for European seat numbers next week (commencing 16-Nov-2020) is for a yet bigger decline of 70.2%, based on filed airline schedules. As a percentage of 2019 levels, capacity in Europe for Nov-2020 is now projected at just 31%.

Recent positive vaccine news raises hopes of a faster return to normal, but this is unlikely to change the short term outlook. Winter 2020/2021 will remain very challenging for European airlines.

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