Aviation experts Eurocontrol are forecasting that airline traffic to Greece may likely return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels in 2023 given Covid-19 is brought under control.
According to the baseline scenario presented in the October report of the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), Greece is moving up in terms of scheduled flights with all the more airlines either adding seats or reintroducing flights to Greek destinations in 2022.
At this pace, Greece could even outdo 2019 levels by 2024.
However, according to a low scenario, Eurocontrol foresees Greece reaching 2019 levels in 2027. This development would be a consequence of deteriorating developments on the Covid front.
Overall, for Europe, the study’s analysts are seeing a better-than-expected rebound and a return to pre-crisis levels by mid-2023 in a high scenario, by late 2023 in a baseline scenario, and by 2027 in a low scenario should coronavirus and its restrictions persist.
“Last year we had only five million flights but this summer has been very encouraging, with traffic close to our previous ‘high’ scenario and to airline expectations. As a result we expect to see about 6.2 million flights this year – still 44 percent fewer than we had in 2019,” said Eamonn Brennan, director-general of Eurocontrol.
He went on to express optimism about traffic recovering to 2019 levels “earlier than anticipated”, with the baseline scenario indicating 9.8 million flights in 2022, just 11 percent down on 2019.
“The high scenario envisages the vaccination campaign continuing both within Europe and globally, with reliable vaccines that continue to be effective, including against variants. With a coordinated inter-regional approach, travel restrictions are relaxed, with most inter-regional flows restarting by the middle of 2022. Business travel recovers quickly in this scenario,” said Brennan.
He stressed however that there were still significant downside risks that could affect the recovery.