Air Traffic is recovering from COVID-19 impact

EUROCONTROL published report on coronavirus impact on European Air Traffic. According to the research 3 August was peak traffic day since the end of March with 16,877 flights.

Based on traffic levels, the Top 5 busiest countries includes Germany (+8%), UK (+22%), France (+4%), Spain (+20%) and Italy (+25%). Flows between North-West Europe and Southern Europe have densified with the summer period. Most of the states in the Mediterranean area have recorded double-digit increases in flight growth compared to two weeks ago, the exception being Morocco (international flights not restored until 10 August) and Israel (limited international flights until 1st September).

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).

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).

The main traffic flow is the intra-Europe flow with 13,722 flights on 4 August. Traffic flows between Europe and North-Atlantic increased over the last 2 weeks. Russian flow is slowly restarting.

Domestic flows are still dominating: 8 of the top 10 flows are domestic. Double digit growth for flows from/to and within South Europe. Some domestic decreasing over the last two weeks (eg. France).

According to the research, 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. The number of passengers at European ACI airports is still very low at -75% during week 30  vs 2019 levels.

The first days of August saw solid numbers with peak day on 3 August (16,877 flights), which might be another (smaller) step change, and traffic is beginning to approach 50% of 2019 traffic (1 August was 49.3%). LCCs made an attempt to kick-start the Network. We are seeing some volatility in growth rates from one week to another perhaps as a result of the fluctuating situation with regards to restrictions.

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, research says.

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