LONDON – Data provided by EUROCONTROL shows that capacity for European flights is down by 67% compared to that of 2019 levels. 14,231 flights operated on September 29 this year, which is a five percent decrease, or 721 flights lower than that of September 15, which was the week previous.

Additionally, traffic for last month was down 54% compared to the same period last year, with airlines reporting very low forward booking rates compared to normal.

Photo: TripSaavy

Airlines with Most Cancellations


Data highlighted that the following airlines are amongst those with the most cancellations so far:

  • Wizz Air (W6) – 90 flights removed.
  • Volotea (V7) – 53 flights removed.
  • Air France (AF) – 53 flights removed.
  • Eurowings (EW) – 41 flights removed.
  • TUI Group – 35 flights removed.
  • KLM (KL) – 32 flights removed.
  • easyJet (U2) – 26 flights removed.

EUROCONTROL were keen to note that the number of flights lost was compensated for by the likes of Bristow Norway, Ryanair, Alitalia and Turkish Airlines adding around 145 flights in total. Even then, it still works out to be around 185 flights less, which is still detrimental to traffic figures.

Photo: John Leivaditis

Ryanair Dominating The Skies


Data also showed that Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR) remains the busiest carrier, operating around 1,136 flights on September 29, which was 37 flights more compared to September 15.

These flights have still been operating despite the airline’s continued calls for the Irish and EU Governments to loosen restrictions due to damaging bookings for the future.

Even if FR is the busiest carrier in Europe, it is still operating 54% less flights compared to the same period last year.

Photo: James Field

Transatlantic Seeing Significant Reductions


As reported by Airways at the end of last month, the Transatlantic (TATL) market may reduce by $7bn due to the effects of COVID-19.

Data from EUROCONTROL appears to back this data up, with flights to North Atlantic down by 70%, the Mid-Atlantic down by 74%, and the South-Atlantic down the most with an 82% decrease. Even for the 15-29 September period, traffic has declined by one percent but compared to the same period last year, is down by 69%.

Overall, for the TATL market, this is really negative news, especially given the fact that airlines such as British Airways (BA), Virgin Atlantic (VS), Delta Air Lines (DL), and others rely on this market for a huge chunk of its revenues.

Photo: The Conversation

Negative Outlook Ahead


It remains clear that based on the fresh information from EUROCONTROL, the outlook for air travel does not look very positive.

As mentioned in previous articles, it is down to those globally to get a vaccine to the general population, which is something that the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) chief doctor stated that the industry cannot afford to wait for.

Other than that, all the industry has to do now is wait to see what governments around the world will do, especially when it comes to testing and vaccination.


Featured Image: A Departure lounge. Photo Credit: Penn Medicine