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Updated EUROCONTROL Traffic Scenarios for 2021: clear hope for some recovery this summer and beyond



EUROCONTROL has issued a new set of Traffic Scenarios detailing the monthly evolution for the period up to December 2021.

Air traffic throughout Europe was 61% down in May 2021 compared to May 2019. While the crisis continues, the trend is moving upwards and there is hope of some recovery this summer.

Eamonn Brennan, Director General EUROCONTROL said, “It is very clear that there is massive underlying demand for air travel so, as travel restrictions ease, we can expect a good increase in traffic. Our baseline scenario indicates that the number of flights should rise from 39% of 2019 levels in May to 57% in August. Traffic has been hovering at around 35% since January, so we’re looking at around 5.5 million flights for the full year, which is 50% of 2019.

EUROCONTROL Traffic Scenario 1 June 2021

[click for larger format]

However, if more States relax their restrictions sooner and fully implement procedures such as the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate as soon as possible, then our optimistic scenario could see the network handling 69% of 2019 traffic levels in August. Naturally, there will be significant variations linked to individual States’ travel restrictions, so some parts of the network might perform better than others.”

This new short-term monthly forecast for the period June to December 2021 is based on three scenarios. The vaccine progress and the relaxation of State measures on non-essential travel are the key drivers determining the forecasting of travel levels between the baseline projection for the network (Scenario 2), the optimistic projection (Scenario 1) and the pessimistic projection (Scenario 3).

EUROCONTROL summarises the situation between now and the end of December 2021 as follows:

EUROCONTROL’s monthly traffic scenarios produced in April 2020, September 2020 and January 2021 have shown a high degree of accuracy.

Eamonn Brennan explained, “On 28 January 2021, we predicted that the total number of flights handled by the European network would about 39% of 2019 levels in May, which was precisely what occurred. It’s very difficult to forecast numbers at the moment as there are so many variables at play, but we’ve been pretty close consistently since the start of the pandemic. We are developing these numbers in close consultation with individual airlines across a large sample of airlines and market segments.”

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BlueSky Business Aviation News | 3rd June 2021 | Issue #608


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