The FINANCIAL — Air travel demand in Europe is recovering from COVID-19 impact. Business aviation recovering faster than other segments and now only 9% below 2019 levels. Also, all-cargo flights are 4% above 2019 levels. Ryanair, announced it has restored over 60% of normal flight schedules from 1st August, following the successful resumption of its services at the end of June. Based on traffic levels, the Top 5 busiest countries include Germany, UK, France, Spain and Italy.
EUROCONTROL is a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. Its latest comprehensive report sees business aviation recovering faster than other segments and now only 9% below 2019 levels, making a total of 14% of all flights on 27 July.
- 15,662 flights on Tuesday 4 August (+12% and +1,710 flights compared to Tuesday 21 July) reaching 46% of 2019 levels. Significant flight increases recorded from/to Mediterranean tourist destinations as of the beginning of August: another step change (cf. early July).
- 3 August was peak traffic day since the end of March with 16,877 flights. 1 August was nearing 50% of the 2019 levels.
- Additional capacity is mainly being added by LCCs but traditional carriers have also expanded their offering from/to Southern Europe. The Spain-UK flow does not seem to be impacted by the UK quarantine rules (imposed end July).
- Ryanair remains the busiest carrier with 1,447 flights on 4 August (+50% on 21 July) followed by easyJet (866 flights, +92%), Turkish Airlines (637 flights, +20%), Wizz Air (523 flights, +4%) and Lufthansa (439 flights, +14%).
- All-cargo flights are 4% above 2019 levels. Business Aviation is recovering fast (9% below 2019 levels): a new larger clientele might find private jets more convenient in the current circumstances. Low-cost is 63% below 2019 levels, recovering slightly faster than Traditional (68% below).
Airlines adding the highest number of flights, when comparing Tuesday 4 August with the same day two weeks ago, were: Ryanair (adding 481 flights) followed by easyJet (+414 flights), KLM (+172 flights), Pegasus (+114 flights) and Turkish Airlines (+108 flights).
Chinese domestic flights started to increase again in June after the resurgence in cases, reaching 11,853 flights on 2 August, now only 15% below pre-COVID levels. Even if the volume of international flights in China is less important than the domestic one, the international traffic remained at 70% below pre-COVID levels since early March.
USA’s domestic traffic is stable on last week, ie 49% below 2019 levels on 19 July, however international flows remain very low at some -79% except flows to/from Mexico.
EUROCONTROL says that there is a potential for significant growth of traffic at the beginning of August – up to 20,000 flights, followed by a limited gradual increase of traffic – up to 21,000 flights in the first half of September. As from the second half of August, the latest NOP Recovery Plan sees traffic on peak days likely to be close to 60% of the traffic of 2019. A significant increase is noted for all parts of the European network with some areas reaching up to 70% of the 2019 traffic. The traffic outlook was impacted to a certain extent by new restrictions being added over the past weeks, and remains highly dependent on the evolution of state restrictions.
The major traffic flow is the intra-Europe flow with 13,722 flights on 4 August, which increased by 14% when compared to the number of flights on 21 July. Traffic levels on flows between Europe and North-Atlantic increased by 19% (August step change, see next section) over two weeks but intercontinental traffic levels are still 73% below 2019 levels. Traffic flows between Europe and “Other Europe” recorded a 33% increase within the last two weeks owing to a gradual resumption of flights out from/to Russia with some States since the 1st of August. Traffic levels on flows between Europe and Asia/Pacific decreased by 15% owing to the reduction of the number of daily flights from/to some Chinese airports but the growth rates remain quite volatile from one day to another.
It should be mentioned that, Amsterdam was the busiest airport with 723 flights (departures & arrivals) on 4 August, followed by Paris CDG and Frankfurt. Madrid and Athens complements the top 5 airports.
Last week, following a review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. As stipulated in the Council recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed regularly and, as the case may be, updated. Algeria has been removed from the list after dropping Serbia and Montenegro 2 weeks ago.