Air traffic in Europe is not expected to recover to 2019 levels until after 2024 according to a new seven-year forecast of air traffic issued by Eurocontrol, the European air traffic management service.

The forecast which updates 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.


Eurocontrol’s director general, Eamonn Brennan, said: “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 per cent more than in 2021 but still 16 per cent fewer than we had in 2019.

“We are optimistic about traffic recovering to around 92 per cent of 2019 levels next year.

“But there are still significant downside risks that could affect the recovery”.

Three scenarios

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.
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