European aviation pays the price for its international dependency

Premium Analysis

Europe's dependence on international markets was always going to be a threat in the recovery from the pandemic, and even more so, given differences in the level and timing of travel restrictions across the continent.

In 2019, the last pre-COVID year, more than three quarters of Europe's seats were international - much greater than in the other leading aviation regions (just over a third in Asia Pacific and a quarter in North America).

Yet restrictions on international travel in Europe have grown rapidly since Nov-2020, and are now second in their level of stringency only to Asia Pacific (where the recovery is now also stalling).

Europe's seat capacity in the week of 8-Feb-2021 is down by 75.4% versus 2019. It has been within a percentage point of this for four weeks now, but it is 1.0ppts worse than last week and much worse than any other region.

Middle East is down by 56.7%, Africa is down by 52.2%, Asia Pacific by 52.4% (the first time it has fallen by more than 50% since Jul-2020), North America by 46.4%, and Latin America by 43.8%.

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