Published on November 7th, 2020 | by Mark Dwyer


New Eurocontrol Forecast Paints Bleak Picture for Aviation

Eurocontrol has released a new forecast looking at the possible evolution of air traffic in Europe over the coming 5 years. In the most optimistic scenario, traffic is forecast to return to 2019 levels by 2024. However, in the second scenario (most likely), 2024 traffic would only be at 92% of the 2019 figure. In the third scenario, traffic in 2024 would be 75% of the 2019 figure and would not reach numbers seen in 2019 until 2029.

Eamonn Brennan, Director General of Eurocontrol, commented “Even in the most positive scenario, we do not expect a recovery to 2019 levels before 2024. There is a very real prospect that this recovery could take even longer, perhaps to as far out as 2029. This is a catastrophic picture for the aviation industry and shows clearly why it is so important for States to take consistent and coherent measures to support the aviation industry and make passengers feel safe to fly again.”

The forecast is based on three headline scenarios,

  • Scenario 1 – Vaccine Summer 2021: Vaccine widely made available for travellers (or end of pandemic) by Summer 2021, with traffic only returning to 2019 levels by 2024.
  • Scenario 2 – Vaccine Summer 2022: Vaccine widely made available for travellers (or end of pandemic) by Summer 2022, with traffic only returning to 2019 levels by 2026.
  • Scenario 3 – Vaccine not effective: Lingering infection and low passenger confidence, with traffic only returning to 2019 levels by 2029.

The forecast shows that the evolution of the aviation sector is strongly dependent on how soon an effective vaccine is made widely available and by levels of public confidence.

Commenting on the timing of this publication, Eamonn Brennan added, “This is a required input for States subject to the EU Performance Scheme in support of their obligations.  Forecasting is never easy and of course, on this occasion it is an even bigger challenge due to the very volatile environment. It comes with greater caveats than normal due to the evolving COVID-19 situation.”

The full forecast can be viewed here.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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