Airlines around the world are dramatically reducing flights in the new year, as the worst crisis to hit the industry shows no signs of abating.
See also: IATA: Airlines need additional $80 billion to survive.
Europe remains the region most affected by travel restrictions, with airlines operating at a quarter of their capacity before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to John Grant, an analyst with the aviation data group OAG. Even China, which spent the latter part of last year flying more or less normally, has seen a 12 percent reduction in flights through January 18, he said.
The OAG figures paint a heartbreaking picture for an industry that is already on its knees after the border closure and other travel restrictions that pushed bookings over the edge for the first time last year. Hopes for a recovery this summer are in jeopardy, after a resurgence of cases and the discovery of new transmissible variants in several countries, Bloomberg said.
Singapore’s capacity has fallen by 88%, the UK by 87% and Germany by 84%, according to OAG data. Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, has cut nearly 92% of flights. British airline Jet2 has stopped flying altogether, Grant said.
The arrival of the vaccines offers some hope for the aviation industry, although deployments take time and should be seen as a solution to get tourism back on its feet, according to the analyst. A full recovery could take up to four more years, Grant added.
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