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EUROCONTROL predicts air traffic will reach 84% to 96% of 2019 levels in 2022, translating into 9.2 million flights.
“Aviation has continued to recover well over the last few weeks, and there has been a steady climb from 68% in January rising to 79% 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. Airlines are adding lots of capacity, and some airlines are already outperforming their pre-pandemic levels. People are showing that they are really keen to fly – many for the first time since before the pandemic began. Hitting 90% or more of 2019 traffic at peak summer moments is firmly on the cards, and we expect holiday destinations and some other parts of the network to exceed 100% of their 2019 levels.
Clearly, however, there are still some downside 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.”