European aviation industry not to land softly until 2025

Transport

The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, Eurocontrol, has published the latest updated forecasts of air traffic resurgence. The key finding of the report is that, in the most likely scenario, air traffic will not reach 2019, pre-pandemic levels, earlier than before 2024, the Warsaw Business Journal reports citing an article by 300gospodarka.

The organization presented three possible scenarios for the reactivation of air traffic. The most moderate, assuming the progress of vaccination and the gradual lifting of transport restrictions, also seems to be the most realistic. 

Under the moderate scenario, air traffic will not return to normal, i.e. to the level where we were before the pandemic (11 million flights per year), only in 2025. By the end of this year, we should reach about 50 percent (5.5 million flights) of the level of air traffic in 2019. In 2022, however, we will reach 72 percent of pre-pandemic levels. 

On the other hand, the optimistic Eurocontrol scenario envisages a return of air traffic to 2019 levels by 2024 – assuming that a large part of Europe's population will be vaccinated by this summer and travel restrictions will be lifted. The scenario is in line with the plans of airlines to increase their offering in the summer months, however, due to the level of vaccination and persistent transport restrictions, it seems unlikely to be met. 

In turn, according to the most pessimistic scenario, air traffic in 2024 will reach only 74 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with a full recovery in 2029 at the earliest. This scenario assumes the existence of transport restrictions in the coming years due to, inter alia, new mutations in the coronavirus, insufficient vaccination levels, and low demand for air travel, caused by a distrust of potential passengers 

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