All Insights drawn via WINGX Monthly Insight Dashboard
Global scheduled airline traffic is 11% higher year to date than 2020, but still lagging 45% below 2019 levels. Travel restrictions have hit transatlantic travel hard, but recent announcements may hopefully accelerate growth and a return towards pre-pandemic levels. In Europe planned changes to travel restrictions by Irish authorities will hopefully reverse Ireland’s vastly reduced flight numbers.
Chart 1: Global Scheduled Airline Departures 1st January – 14 July 2021 vs 2020
Reuters reported that on July 15th US President Joe Biden said “the United States is reviewing when it can lift restrictions that ban most-non U.S. citizens from traveling to the United States from much of Europe”. This is welcomed news as a just the day before whilst speaking at CAPA Live, EUROCONTROL Director General Eamonn Brennan expressed concern with the level of uncertainty of trans-Atlantic passenger services.
Year to date, departures from North America to the EU 27 countries are down 59% vs pre-pandemic levels, recovery towards 2019 demand has been slow, meaning year to date traffic levels are still 5% below 2020.
Year-to-date departures from the United States to Germany are down 58%, Netherlands down 47% and France down 66%. Although traffic volumes are lower, departures to Finland and Portugal are similar in percentage difference to France. The drop in traffic volumes from Canada to Germany, Netherlands and France is similar to the US, Ireland seeing a spectacular drop off with 94% fewer departures from Canada year-to-date than in 2019. Looking outside of the EU27, departures from the US to the United Kingdom and Switzerland down 90% & 92% respectively. There are signs of leisure travel returning, flights between Aruba and Netherlands are up 188% vs 2019, between Sint Maarten and France are up 33% vs 2019. Other routes enjoying double digital growth vs 2019 are between Costa Rica and Netherlands and Costa Rica and Germany.
The Irish Government is preparing to lift international restrictions on July 19, allowing non-essential travel to return. Ireland’s busiest airport, Dublin / EIDW, saw 94% fewer flights year-to-date compared to 2019. Connections from Dublin to Spain, United Kingdom, United States and the Netherlands have been hit hard, all down over 90% year to date vs 2019. Internal flights from Dublin are also down 80% vs 2019. For all airports in Ireland, departures out of the country are down by 85% vs 2019. Flights from Ireland to the UAE are down 67% vs 2019, in contrast to 5% growth compared to 2019 to Qatar. Flights to Morocco and Norway have both seen a 99% reduction on 2019 levels, numerous other European nations have seen close to or above 90% reductions in flights from Ireland vs 2019. The common travel area between Ireland and the UK has been hit hard, WINGX recorded around 28,000 fewer flights year to date vs 2019.
Chart 2: Top 20 Airport Pairs from Dublin Airport Jan 1 – July 14 2021
Airline recovery has been a mixed bag, travel restrictions that vary across route networks has seen the rate of recovery differ greatly from airline to airline. For the first 14 days in July US carriers such as Delta Connection, Allegiant Air, Sun Country Airlines and Frontier Airline have seen double digit growth compared to the first 14 days in July 2019. In contrast to American Airlines, down 12%, Southwest Airlines down 13% and Delta down 23%. In Europe several airlines have closed the gap on 2019 levels. Volotea flights are down just 6% vs the same period in 2019, Wizz Air down 10%. CanaryFly and BinterCanarias who’s focus is inter-island flights are down just 11% and 13% respectively. In contrast, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic Airways are both down just over 50% vs 2019 and British Airways down 76% vs 2019.
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