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Eurocontrol Sees Air Traffic at 84% of Pre-Covid Levels by End of Year

Aviation experts Eurocontrol are expecting air traffic to pick up significantly in the coming months forecasting a recovery of 84 percent of pre-Covid-19 2019 levels by the end of the year or approximately 9.3 million flights across Europe for all of 2022.

More specifically, according to Eurocontrol’s Base Scenario for the April-December period, steady growth is predicted between April and peak-summer, reaching 89 percent of 2019 levels by August and rising to 92 percent by the end of the year.

This sustained recovery will translate into around 9.3 million flights operated throughout Europe for the full year 2022. That represents 84 percent of 2019 traffic, when the network saw a record 11.1 million flights and significantly up from 6.2 million flights recorded in 2021.

“Aviation has continued to recover well over the last few weeks and there has been a steady climb from 68 percent in January rising to 79 percent by the start of April compared to 2019 levels, even factoring in the impact on the network and on fuel prices of the unprovoked aggression by Russia against Ukraine,” said Eamonn Brennan, director general Eurocontrol.

Brennan went on to add that airlines were adding capacity and some were already outperforming their pre-Covid levels while at the same time, people were keen on flying.

Eurocontrol expects 90 percent or more of 2019 traffic during peak summer moments and some holiday destinations exceeding 100 percent of their 2019 levels.

However, on the downside, Brennan also referred to risks related to continued geopolitical tensions that could further impact fuel prices and economic conditions as well as the possibility of new Covid variants.

“We’re also seeing staff shortages in parts of the industry, particularly at airports in key roles such as airport screeners or ground handlers, and this needs to be carefully managed. Should any of these factors come into play, traffic could slide towards the levels envisaged in our Low Scenario.”

According to Eurocontrol’s Base Scenario, traffic is set to return to around 90 percent of 2019 levels by summer 2022 and remain steady until the end of the year with most intra-European flows back to normal or even exceeding pre-pandemic levels, and long-haul flows progressively returning.

A Eurocontrol report last year forecasting that airline traffic to Greece may likely return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels in 2023 given Covid-19 is brought under control, with the country even outdoing 2019 levels by 2024.

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