European aviation: pax recovery closing in on capacity, but UK lags

Premium Analysis

Europe's total seat numbers are 33.7% below 2019 levels in the week commencing 16-Aug-2021. This is the closest that Europe's capacity has been to 2019 levels since before the pandemic.

However, the rate of improvement is slowing: after an improvement of 29.7ppts between mid May-2021 and mid Jul-2021, the gain has been only 3.3ppts over the past month.

Europe remains in third place in the regional capacity recovery ranking. The Middle East, where seat capacity is down by 44.6% versus 2019, remains at the bottom. Asia Pacific is down by 38.4%, Africa by 36.9%, Latin America by 26.4%, and North America by 21.2% this week.

European airport passenger traffic recovery moved closer to the capacity curve in early Aug-2021, according to data from ACI Europe. Yet, the recovery is inconsistent across Europe.

Non-EU Europe is enjoying the strongest traffic recovery (thanks to large Russian and Turkish domestic markets) and southern Europe is doing better than northern Europe. However, the UK's traffic recovery continues to lag the rest of the continent.

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