European aircraft manufacturer Airbus expects flight demand for its most widely used aircraft – the A320 medium-haul models – to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, amid fears over the fate of its larger aircraft.
CEO Guillaume Faury said in a webcast on Tuesday that air travel recovery in Europe has been “very disappointing” so far in 2021, but that traffic is already picking up in the United States, Reuters reviewed.
The aerospace industry has been trying to estimate how long it will take to rebound to pre-pandemic air traffic levels last recorded in 2019, with average estimates covering 2024 in particular.
“We think in terms of medium-scale aircraft, and among narrowbody aircraft, there will probably be a recovery in 2023, and for widebody aircraft we think it will be around 2024, 2025. We really don’t know,” he added.
“There is more uncertainty about how quickly and how strongly international traffic can recover,” he added.
The Airbus chief played down concerns that air travel would be permanently affected as a result of the pandemic, while companies have been cutting costs and increasingly using videoconferencing technology for meetings. Citigroup earlier cut its recommendation on Airbus stock to “neutral” from “buy,” citing a glut of aircraft and the risk that business travel would be permanently affected, leaving long-term traffic demand 10% below expectations before the coronavirus.
By Tim Hepher. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo.