North Atlantic collapse is crippling to Europe's airlines

Premium Analysis

The North Atlantic matters a lot to European airlines. It is their most important long haul region by ASKs. What's more, Europe's airlines have a smaller share of ASKs on routes within their own continent than North American and Asia Pacific airlines have (based on 2019). This means they have fewer options when long haul routes dry up.

As a percentage of 2019 seat numbers, the North Atlantic fell further, and has stayed lower, than total Europe capacity since Apr-2020. Moreover, Europe-North America has suffered the second worst fall in passenger traffic and the biggest yield decline among route regions from Europe – meaning the worst revenue performance.

British Airways, Lufthansa and Norwegian led Europe's airlines by North Atlantic ASKs in 2019, while La Compagnie, Virgin Atlantic, Icelandair and Aer Lingus had the highest exposure as a percentage of their ASKs.

For all European airlines flying to North America in 2019, almost a quarter of their ASKs were in this route region – a reasonable indication of revenue importance.

Efforts to kick-start North Atlantic aviation by introducing a London-New York travel bubble, or air corridor, have a crucial importance to European airlines.

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