EUROCONTROL has released a new forecast looking at the possible evolution of air traffic in Europe over the coming 5 years. In the most optimistic scenario, traffic is forecast to return to 2019 levels by 2024. However, in the second scenario (most likely), 2024 traffic would only be at 92% of the 2019 figure. In the third scenario, traffic in 2024 would be 75% of the 2019 figure and would not reach numbers seen in 2019 until 2029.
Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL, commented “Even in the most positive scenario, we do not expect a recovery to 2019 levels before 2024. There is a very real prospect that this recovery could take even longer, perhaps to as far out as 2029. This is a catastrophic picture for the aviation industry and shows clearly why it is so important for States to take consistent and coherent measures to support the aviation industry and make passengers feel safe to fly again.”
The forecast is based on three headline scenarios,
- Scenario 1 – Vaccine Summer 2021: Vaccine widely made available for travellers (or end of pandemic) by Summer 2021, with traffic only returning to 2019 levels by 2024.
- Scenario 2 – Vaccine Summer 2022: Vaccine widely made available for travellers (or end of pandemic) by Summer 2022, with traffic only returning to 2019 levels by 2026.
- Scenario 3 – Vaccine not effective: Lingering infection and low passenger confidence, with traffic only returning to 2019 levels by 2029.
The forecast shows that the evolution of the aviation sector is strongly dependent on how soon an effective vaccine is made widely available and by levels of public confidence.
Commenting on the timing of this publication, Eamonn Brennan added, “This is a required input for States subject to the EU Performance Scheme in support of their obligations. Forecasting is never easy and of course, on this occasion it is an even bigger challenge due to the very volatile environment. It comes with greater caveats than normal due to the evolving COVID-19 situation.”
Download the report here: EUROCONTROL Five-Year Forecast 2020-2024