Air traffic in Europe is not expected to recover to 2019 levels until after 2024 according to a new 7-year forecast of air traffic, issued today by EUROCONTROL.
The forecast which updates and extends the forecast made in June 2022, before the summer season, sets out three scenarios, with the most optimistic showing recovery to 2019 levels during 2023 and the most pessimistic with recovery after 2028. The most likely ‘baseline’ scenario foresees the recovery in 2025.
“We have seen strong demand this summer but this has been held back, both by the capacity of the sector to handle the rapid growth and also by the impact of the war in Ukraine. As a result we expect to see about 9.3 million flights this year, 49% more than in 2021 but still 16% fewer than we had in 2019. We are optimistic about traffic recovering to around 92% of 2019 levels next year. But there are still significant downside risks that could affect the recovery”.
The High scenario envisages moderate GDP growth, a limited impact on demand from inflation, good passenger confidence and limited capacity constraints in 2023 at airports and airlines.
The Baseline scenario is based on GDP being weak, inflation (including jet fuel price) impacting demand and lower passenger confidence/propensity to fly.
The Low scenario considers the impact of several downside risks, including a number of states in recession in 2023, strongly impacted demand for travel (inflation/COVID-19/alternatives to business travel/environmental concerns) and staffing/capacity issues at airlines/airports in 2023.
For more information, please consult our forecast document, its region definition annex and a statistical table, which includes data by individual State.
Download EUROCONTROL's 2022-2028 forecast
Learn more about our updated scenarios for recovery from COVID-19
EUROCONTROL is a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. As Europe’s Network Manager, we play a central coordination role, using our technical expertise to support Member States and a wide range of stakeholders (air navigation service providers, civil and military airspace users, airports and aircraft/equipment manufacturers). We strive to make European aviation safe, efficient, scalable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable, partnering with the European Union to make the Single European Sky a reality.
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