Europe's LCCs led airline recovery; now provoke capacity slide

Premium Analysis

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a tightening of European capacity on routes within Europe, thereby increasing the importance of the continent's LCCs. Low cost airlines led the recovery on routes within Europe, but as demand for air travel falters, recent LCC retrenchment has also prompted a slide in European capacity.

The year-on-year cut of -58.3% in Europe's total airline seat numbers in the week commencing 7-Sep-2020 is only slightly deeper than last week's -57.8%.

However, this is the third consecutive downward movement after 11 positive weeks before that. Moreover, the month of Sep-2020 is already projected to suffer a bigger year-on-year percentage drop than Aug-2020, partially reversing the recovery that began in Jun-2020.

Europe's cut is deeper than North America's -55.8% and Asia Pacific's -41.4%. Latin America once again has the deepest cut, at -66.6%, followed by Africa at -64.3% and the Middle East at -61.6%.

Europe's low cost airlines are showing that they are more nimble than their legacy competitors in adjusting capacity to demand, both up and down.

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