Eurocontrol forecast: traffic will recover from COVID-19, but war in Ukraine could affect travel in 2022

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Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, predicts an upward trend in traffic, stressing that airlines, airports and states are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will affect the network.

According to the updated forecast for 2022-2024, European network traffic for flights has already recovered by 2022 in the first half of the year alone – reaching a total of 77% of pre-pandemic levels, reports SchengenVisaInfo .com.

The report shows that average daily flights between May 26 and June 1 reached 86% of 2019 levels, indicating that traffic peaked at nearly 30,000.

However, the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the Omicron variant, is linked to a downward revision by Oxford Economics (OEF), indicating the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine , which includes the combination of higher inflation for longer and weaker growth, mainly via more moderate consumption.

As shown by the OEF, the macro impact on benchmark GDP is noticeable as it hit the 5.0 mark, as uncertainty remains very high, with downside risks.

Three main scenarios include a recovery to 2019 levels in 2023, with the pandemic moving into the endemic phase with no travel restrictions. Furthermore, this scenario includes the full restoration of pre-COVID long-haul flows in the third quarter of the year.

Good passenger confidence, pent-up demand and a faster rebound in business travel are expected under this baseline scenario, which forecasts the recovery of COVID-19 by 2024.

“Thanks to the savings glut effect, no impact of the increase in energy prices (including the price of kerosene), food costs and ticket prices on the purchasing power of travelers” , says the report regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Another scenario, which is the baseline, predicts the recovery of pre-pandemic levels of traffic by the end of the year, indicating the last quarter. Despite pent-up demand, a glut of savings and relatively good passenger confidence, business travel is slowly returning.

Much like the previous scenario, a very limited and fairly limited impact of staffing shortages will be evident. However, an increase in energy prices, food prices and ticket prices should have a limited negative impact.

The latest scenario, which foresees a recovery in traffic by 2027, foresees the reintroduction of constant lockdowns and travel restrictions, with near-absolute recovery to 2019 levels by the second quarter of 2023.

Airports, airlines and other players are expected to face operational difficulties compared to pre-pandemic levels, with a high impact of staff shortages.

According to the overflights, the invasion of Ukraine affects those of several countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey. On the other hand, fewer overflights are observed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Norway and Poland.


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