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Welcome to the InsightIQ Blog! Here you'll find our weekly InsightIQ snapshots, designed to offer a clear picture of current trends, timely aviation market insight and expert analysis on matters that impact your business - all generated from the leading aviation intelligence platform, InsightIQ


InsightIQ is designed to meet all your aviation finance needs. Our integrated platform is built from over 65 years of commercial aircraft and engine proprietary fleet data, IBA’s award-winning values, flight and utilisation information, market data, carbon emission modelling, liquidity analysis and aviation news.


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InsightIQ CEC: Korean Airlines; How have C02 emissions changed in 2020 when compared to 2019?

Using IBA’s powerful new Carbon Emissions Calculator from InsightIQ, we calculate around 19.3 million tonnes of CO2 emitted by Korean commercial air transport activities over 2020, a decrease of 43% YoY when compared to 2019.

Illustrated in the chart below, we show an overview of the top eight Korean commercial airlines’ total CO2 emissions, ranked using 2019 figures. In absolute terms, it is clear that Korean Air and Asiana Airlines contribute the vast majority of CO2 emissions (~79% of the top eight Korean airlines in 2019), with their expansive networks and large fleet of widebodies (including four engine aircraft). The continuation of cargo operations by these two carriers also meant their YoY decline in CO2 emitted was less exaggerated than those of low-cost carriers without large cargo operations.


Source: IBA InsightIQ CEC


Considering CO2 emissions on a unit basis (per seat per KM, considering passenger aircraft), the divergence between Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and ‘the rest’ over 2020 is stark. Demonstrated in the chart below, the two full service carriers’ CO2 emissions per seat per KM actually decreased YoY in 2020 due to the removal of more polluting aircraft types (i.e. A380, 747), while the low-cost carriers saw their emissions per unit increase by an average of 20%. 

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Source: IBA InsightIQ CEC


We have observed that LCCs have made network adaptations in 2020 due to international travel restrictions, we note the average flight time (according to InsightIQ Flights data) for these operators decreased from ~2 hours to ~1 hour, thereby decreasing fuel burn optimisation.


If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Finlay Grogan


InsightIQ CEC: insight into the A380’s CO2 impact

IBA’s new Carbon Emissions Calculator (CEC) is tailored for aviation finance and airlines, making it unique in the marketplace. Recently added to our InsightIQ intelligence platform, the CEC can accurately monitor changes in CO2 emissions and support your reporting activities on operators, owners, routes, airports or aircraft type.

We are aware of the global trend among operators to favour new generation twin-engine widebodies over older counterparts; their greater fuel-burn efficiency makes them cheaper to operate. In the chart below, InsightIQ's CEC analysis demonstrates the average CO2 levels per flight reduced on an annual basis from 2019 to 2020, with the A380’s March 2020 exit from the international fleet having a significant impact. Singapore Airlines, Qantas and British Airways all grounded their aircraft and the Changi – London route experienced the largest reduction in average CO2 emissions per flight.

InsightIQ’s Flights monitored 1,513 A380 trips between Changi and London in 2019 out of a total of 2,553, representing 59.2% of all flights on the trunk route. Comparatively, our platform observed 339 flights out of a total of 606 between January and March 2020 when the pandemic hit and the A380 did not return to the skies.  


Qantas and British Airways have both expressed commitment to the A380 and their intention to bring the aircraft back to their fleets when demand on this busy route begins to build. Currently, however, as expected we will continue to see reduction in absolute terms of average CO2 emissions per flight on this city pair. 




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InsightIQ can also show efficiency comparisons of all aircraft types, including the A380 vs other large widebody aircraft with our per seat per mile emission metrics - see InsightIQ in action, book your system demo today.


If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Tim Boon


InsightIQ CEC: insight into new gen widebodies and CO2

IBA’s new Carbon Emissions Calculator (CEC) is tailored for aviation finance and airlines, making it unique in the marketplace. Recently added to our InsightIQ intelligence platform, the CEC can accurately monitor changes in CO2 emissions and support your reporting activities on operators, owners, routes, airports or aircraft type.

We are aware of the global trend among operators to favour new generation twin-engine widebodies over older counterparts; their greater fuel-burn efficiency makes them cheaper to operate. The London Heathrow - JFK trunk route, for example, experienced a 51% drop in frequency between 2019 and 2020 due to Covid-19 and plummeting demand. Even allowing for this, British Airways’ phase out of the 747-400 in early 2020 and Virgin Atlantic’s A340-600 scale back have meant the route has seen an 11.2% reduction in CO2 by Available Seat Kilometre (ASK).

We can compare British Airways’ 1,755 flights operated by 747-400s in 2019 with the 415 flights it flew in 2020 which ended abruptly in March. The reductions in CO2 by ASK are well-defined in the chart below but our CEC reveals the further decreases that can be achieved by using Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). The SAFs are from the approved list of CORSIA Eligible Fuels (CEFs), which are regional specific and applied according to available feedstocks based in the UK and the US.



The InsightIQ CEC equips users to select the feedstock used on a route, allocate the percentage SAF blend and calculate CO2 reductions on a lifecycle basis. The chart shows a 23% drop in annual CO2 emissions can be realised by using a 25% blend of SAF sourced from forestry residues on the Heathrow - JFK route. Other SAFs such as Tallow and Municipal Solid Waste reduce CO2 emissions by 19% and 24% respectively. 


If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Tim Boon


InsightIQ Fleets: ABS update, where is the short term exposure?

Last year’s Covid-19 turmoil saw almost 1,600 aircraft subject to administration or restructuring, and we’ve witnessed further failures already in 2021. IBA advises on 90% of all ABS structures and can source rich ABS fleet and value analysis from our intelligence platform InsightIQ. Our analysis of post 2015 ABS portfolios reveals that, while just over 56% of aircraft are active currently, almost 50% of widebodies are inactive. With ABS deals favouring the most liquid narrowbodies, the number of idle widebodies is unsurprising but IBA did not initially anticipate the high level of turboprop inactivity when the pandemic first struck in 2020 (63%).

Disclaimer: fleet data based on original issuance data, subject to change


The market has generally focused on Covid’s negative impact on long-haul rather than regional travel and IBA expects turboprops to recover. Their current difficulties are likely to result from some of the lower tier credits with which they’re associated and a lack of government support for the regional sector compared with large, national legacy carriers.

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There is slight diversity in ABS portfolios and some are riskier than others but the most liquid narrowbodies overwhelmingly dominate. InsightIQ shows that almost 83% of ABS fleets involve narrowbodies, popular types such as the 737-800 and -700 and Airbus A320s, A321s and A319s leading the field. Widebodies make up only 10%.



There is short term exposure attached to aircraft whose lease terms should finish over forthcoming years; InsightIQ fleets shows that there are 130 lease ends due this year with 160+ in 2022 and around 150 in 2023.



While some of these leases will be extended due to payment deferrals, IATA’s prediction that aircraft utilisation will take until 2024 or 2025 to return to 2019 levels generates concern for those leases that do end in the meantime.


If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Phil Seymour



InsightIQ Fleets: How have current market conditions impacted widebody engine performance ?

InsightIQ Fleets illustrates the backlog for many new-gen widebody engines types remains substantial, in particular the GE9X (612), GEnx-1B (624), Trent 7000 (546) and the Trent XWB (1,008). Many newer generation engines are attached to Power By The Hour agreements and as such have continued to go into the shop for required maintenance, though in reduced numbers due to lower utilisation.

Mature examples see far fewer PBH contracts, allowing operators the option to avoid maintenance expense wherever possible, this is set to continue as a trend for some time. They are becoming the workhorses of the fleet and consigning older engine types to storage: Trent 800s, Pratt and Whitney 4000-112s and 100s included.

While the in-service status of current new gen widebody engines is strong on many types, InsightIQ Fleets demonstrates that 44% of the 1,704 of the Trent 700 engines powering the A330ceo, and over 90% of the GP7200 and Trent 900s powering the A380 are either parked or stored. 





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How are widebody engines values performing?
The market for more mature engines is weaker and throughout Covid-19, though trading volumes have been low, there have been distressed deals within the transactions we have seen. InsightIQ Values show market values of some mature engines looking desperately poor against base values: the 777’s GE90 engine, for example, has a current market value of just US$ 10.7m compared with a base value of US$ 18.35m. On a positive note, the delays to the Boeing 777X programme are likely to prolong demand for the GE90 fleet.


What about regional aircraft?
Regional aircraft are leading the recovery in many regions as airlines downgrade to these types from larger narrowbodies due to lower levels of demand, and they are also consistently being used on essential (public service obligation) services. As a result, data from InsightIQ shows that, between July 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of regional engines that were active increased from 44% to 64%.


If you have any further questions or comments please contact: David Archer


InsightIQ: Airline Survival

Unprecedented government support packages approaching $US 200bn prevented a much greater number of airline failures (inc. those seeking protection) than the 45 IBA recorded last year (Jets & turboprops >25 seats) and the 1,548 aircraft involved was an annual record by a large margin. The 11 operators that sought protection who controlled 58% of the aircraft involved have had to pursue rigorous restructuring to survive the crisis and more fallout is expected this year. With global vaccination programmes underway and signposting a way out of Covid-19 towards eventual recovery, where can we find glimmers of optimism for airlines?


The question is one of timing; there will be a recovery, but it will be dependent not only on vaccination deployment but on the relaxation of quarantine rules and travel restrictions. Now that support packages have grown by at least another 10%, and set to grow further still, the potential fallout will be minimised compared to what it could have been. Many have used this process to optimise their resilience by slimming down fixed costs (staff layoffs and retirements, and fleet optimisation) so once the crisis abates, the industry will be the stronger for it.


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It’s important to recognise that those seeking protection have managed to strip out 35% of their fleet already, which is close to earlier estimates of a 40% reduction. That is in addition to the 1,500 aircraft that have been identified as being part of an early retirement programme to reduce overall fleet capacity. Of those that failed and didn’t seek protection, there are still around 24% of the fleet that are still yet to move, split evenly between lessors and administrators. 


If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Stuart Hatcher


InsightIQ: How has MRO demand and shop visits been impacted by Covid-19?

The vaccine rollout is gathering pace in certain markets, including key transport hubs such as the UK and United Arab Emirates, and major markets such as the US. As a result, InsightIQ forecasts a positive forward trend for late 2021 in engine utilisation, focused initially on larger domestic markets until global vaccine uptake increases further. Engine MRO demand will continue to lag behind as operators continue to offset maintenance expenses.

A commercial aircraft flying in the sky, zoomed in on the engine and the wing.

InsightIQ shows the number of engine flight hours is currently plateauing at around 1.4 million per month, having plunged from around 2.8 million at the end of 2019 to less than 600,000 in April 2020. Full scope engine shop visits are down by 70% compared to pre-Covid-19 levels and engine MRO revenue by 50%. However, IBA is now seeing three-month lead times for some shop visits, indicating that engine MRO providers have restructured their operations to better match capacity to demand.

InsightIQ shows this capacity re-structuring may negatively impact the timeframe to recovery in engine shop visits. If engine MRO providers are able to build back capacity in line with increases in demand, shop visit levels could recover to pre-Covid-19 levels by 2024. However, if they lag significantly behind demand, IBA forecasts a five-year recovery timeframe to 2026.




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Between June 2020 and February 2021, data from IBA’s InsightIQ platform illustrated a uniform increase in the number of active engines and a decrease in those on aircraft that are parked or stored. IBA believes some of this activity is airlines opting to fly aircraft and their engines at very low utilisation rates rather than incur the costs of long-term storage.


If you have any further questions please contact: David Archer


InsightIQ Fleets: An outlook on the new generation engines

Despite soft market conditions, the aircraft engine market is showing early signs of recovery from the worst effects of Covid-19, but is not set to return to pre-pandemic levels until the mid-2020s.  InsightIQ intelligence indicates the outlook for the latest new generation engines is extremely positive and the values of models such as the Leap and Pratt & Whitney’s GTF pose the least risk.  InsightIQ fleet data illustrates there is a strong order backlog for all new gen narrowbody engine types (LEAP-1A, LEAP-1B and PW1100G), totalling 7,466 engines. 

Conversely, InsightIQ demonstrates falling values for older engine variants, the 7B26, 5B4/P and V2500 among them. There is greater market value volatility here which, for the worst affected, have dropped below the base. IBA’s ISTAT appraiser team have maintained existing base values, however, due to inadequate trading and resultant data but have adjusted market values to reflect trading conditions. The limited transactions we’ve observed have been sale and leasebacks of more attractive assets and part outs of older, less liquid assets. 


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How does activity vary from region to region?

Optimistic signs of narrowbody recovery have already emerged in North America and the Asia Pacific due to their large domestic markets, especially in China. 61% of current active engines relate to the Chinese market, Covid restrictions still having a disproportionate impact on international routes.


How has engine utilisation shifted?

The dynamics of narrowbody aircraft engine utilisation have been significantly shifted by the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX, with 168 LEAP-1B powerplants (powering 84 aircraft) entering service between November 2021 and March 2021. Whilst this engine type currently only represents 22% of the new gen narrowbody powerplants in service, that proportion is expected to increase sharply as the MAX re-enters service at a greater scale across the globe.  



The vaccine rollout is gathering pace in certain markets, including key transport hubs such as the UK and United Arab Emirates, and major markets such as the US. As a result, InsightIQ forecasts a positive forward trend for late 2021 in engine utilisation, focused initially on larger domestic markets until global vaccine uptake increases further. Engine MRO demand will continue to lag behind as operators continue to offset maintenance expenses.


If you have any further questions please contact: David Archer


InsightIQ Fleets: An Aercap and GECAS superpower may lead to more consolidation in the market

A combination of the two largest aircraft leasing companies would create a superpower that owns and manages over 2,000 aircraft, leased to a well-diversified customer base with a strong market position. Using InsightIQ Fleet data, IBA’s advisory team reviews the impact for the wider market.

Plane flying overhead

As of March 2021, the in-service leased aircraft fleet represent nearly half of the overall in-service aircraft fleet according to InsightIQ Fleets. Ahead of this acquisition, the aircraft leasing market exhibits a relatively high concentration, with AerCap and GECAS collectively accounting for almost 14% of the leased fleet. As illustrated in the chart below, the 10 largest aircraft lessors (by in-serviced fleet size and order backlog), currently take up nearly 40% of the overall leased aircraft fleet.


In Service Fleet and Order backlog by top lessors

InsightIQ has identified AerCap and GECAS as the top two lessors by fleet size, owning and managing in-service fleets of 1,080 and 984 aircraft respectively. Overall, the size of AerCap and GECAS fleets represent respectively 7.2% and 6.6% of the worldwide leased fleet.


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Is their synergy within their fleet strategy?


In terms of their future fleet outlooks, both lessors have a convergent strategy as most of AerCap and GECAS’ backlogs are heavily weighted towards narrowbody aircraft, with InsightIQ Fleets showing their order books comprising 79% and 92% of narrowbody aircraft respectively.

Looking at their active fleet, the deal could consolidate the two different strategies followed by both aircraft lessors. Both lessors have a similar distribution of narrowbody aircraft.

Fleet Size and Average age


AerCap currently owns and manages a fleet of 72% of narrowbody aircraft (64% of them belonging to the Airbus A320 family), while GECAS has 75% of narrowbody aircraft in its owned and managed fleet, well distributed between A320 family and Boeing 737 family aircraft. In terms of other aircraft classes/roles, AerCap has a larger exposure to widebody aircraft, amounting to 27% of its entire fleet while GECAS has more presence in the Regional and Freighter markets.

What is the geographical distribution of leased aircraft from AerCap and GECAS?

InsightIQ fleet data highlight two distinct market approaches. While the number of aircraft leased to operators based in the Asia Pacific region has similar proportions between both lessors, AerCap has a much higher exposure to the European market (around 42% of its overall portfolio). GECAS has focused on the North American market, having a total airlines exposure of 37% to operators based in this region. The team-up involving AerCap and GECAS would then create a well-diversified portfolio in terms of geographical distribution, with exposure to North American and European regions standing at similar levels.


Who are the 10 largest lessees of AerCap and GECAS?

InsightIQ illustrates five operators as common to both lessors. American Airlines is the largest customer to both AerCap and GECAS as the operator has respectively 72 aircraft and 81 aircraft on lease. Of the top 10 largest lessees of GECAS, seven are based in the North American region whereas only three lessees based in North America are among the 10 largest customers of AerCap.


Top 10 Lessee List

The Top 10 Lessor league chart includes data taken from InsightIQ covering the current fleet of owned/managed aircraft coupled with backlogs consistent with published identifiable OEM data as at 8th March 2021.


This strengthened franchises between the top two players could create some obstacles for other players in the market. However, it’s possible we will see other similar moves or consolidations in the aircraft leasing industry as lessors manage lease renegotiation and loss of rental income from the Covid-19 outbreak.

We would expect to see a significant amount of restructuring work for AerCap and GECAS during the year ahead in order to consolidate and prepare for the recovery in traffic demand. Considering the size of the combined fleet, it is likely that we will see some tranches of aircraft packaged and sold to manage asset and lessee concentration and to focus on core asset types.


The deal remains subject to regulatory approval, which is likely to attract scrutiny given the prominent market positions held by AerCap and GECAS.


If you have any further questions please contact: Jie Zhou



InsightIQ Fleets: Growing Market Appetite For Narrowbody P2F Conversions

Boeing 737-800 P2F conversions have proved increasingly popular since May last year, active 737-800 freighter numbers growing significantly from 21 to 51. Since the first conversions in 2017, focus has shifted from the 737 Classics to the NG models and InsightIQ anticipates 2021 will witness even greater 737-800 performance.


Stationary Aircraft

Source: InsightIQ Fleets, filed February 2021


InsightIQ analysis signposts that demand for the model is growing strongly against dwindling conversion rates for the smaller 737-700, -300 and -400. While only insignificant numbers of these smaller aircraft are undergoing conversion, the 737-800s awaiting freighter adaptation have risen annually since 2017 and surged to 39 this year from 27 in 2020 as illustrated in the chart below.


Chart showing Boeing 737 P2F conversion overview from 2015 to 2021

Source: InsightIQ Fleets, filed February 2021


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The average age of the type at conversion is around 15 to 17 years and, as a substantial ex-Ryanair feedstock of 2005/2006-delivered 737-800s filters through, the age at conversion is likely to reduce. Indicative conversion costs excluding any maintenance expenses average slightly more than US$ 4.16M.


InsightIQ shows the first Airbus A321 P2F conversions entered the market this year and there are now nine active aircraft, five of which are awaiting conversion. Although the Boeing 757 still dominates the larger narrowbody sector and demand is enduring currently, we expect an eventual shift in focus to the slightly smaller A321. A diminishing feedstock of 757s and reducing A321 prices will facilitate the swing. The A321s being converted are all 1998 – 2000 deliveries and have an average conversion cost of US$ 6.14M excluding maintenance expenditure. Further conversions are due in 2021 and InsightIQ foresees interest in the model will be high.


If you have any further questions please contact: Jonathan McDonald


InsightIQ Flights: Traffic In North America Stalls Due To Winter Storms Whilst APAC Region Rallies

InsightIQ Flight data illustrates the inverse capacity trend of operators from North America and Asia Pacific regions in recent weeks (in terms of the number of operated flights).

Aeroplane flying over the ocean

North America's capacity recovery has been curtailed by bad weather during mid- February, the region suffered from winter weather conditions that affected air traffic operations in week 8 of 2021 (14-20th February). During this period, over 100 million Americans were under winter storm warnings. Airports located in Texas cancelled the most flights with Dallas airport (DFW) being the hardest hit cancelling thousands of flights. Southwest and American Airlines were the worst-hit carriers as they recorded respectively a 17% and 16% capacity drop between 7-20th February. The Cargo operator FedEx also stated that it was forced to temporarily shut operations on 16th February.



Flights by region

Source: InsightIQ Flights


Despite the Lunar New Year Holiday season, traffic capacity operated by airlines based in the APAC region was cut due to the resurgence of coronavirus cases in China. However, Week 8 (14-20th February) saw a higher number of operated flights by Chinese operators as air traffic was boosted by the return flights as businesses resume after the Lunar New Year season.


If you have any further questions please contact: Geoffroy Robin


InsightIQ Flights: China's Strong Domestic Air Travel Has Stalled Over The Lunar New Year

InsightIQ data revealed China has experienced a drop in domestic air travel in the fifteen-day period prior to the Lunar New Year compared to the same period in 2020. Following the resurgence of new Covid-19 cases in early January, new travel restrictions and subsequent lower demand for domestic travel have meant deep capacity cuts from local airlines.

Air China aircraft taking off into the sky on the runway

The flight data extracted from IBA's InsightIQ Flights illustrates that Chinese carriers operated 41% fewer domestic flights, representing circa 66,500 fewer flights over the fifteen-day period prior to the annual festival compared to 2020 flight numbers.


A graph comparing flight activity during Chinese New Year for 2019-2021


Source: InsightIQ Flights, dated February 16th, illustrating domestic flights for 14 days before and after the Lunar New Year. (Chinese New Year fell on February 12th)


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The Lunar New Year season has been long awaited by airlines, this period is reported to be one of the world's biggest annual human migrations and the busiest period for Chinese airlines. The number of Covid-19 cases was reportedly down to almost zero in China at the end of 2020 and domestic traffic figures were showing good signs of improvement, reaching nearly 2019 domestic traffic levels.

In recent weeks, the Chinese government encouraged people not to travel and stated that the expected number of trips would be down by 60% compared to the 2019 Lunar New Year holiday season. It is too early to confirm the full impact, but IBA anticipates this will likely result in further capacity cuts from airlines over the fifteen-day period after the Lunar New Year.

Data from InsightIQ does reveal Chinese airlines are showing an improvement in terms of their active fleet during the Lunar New Year season in 2021, when compared to 2020. InsightIQ Fleet data illustrates the current number of parked and stored aircraft has decreased by 58% compared to the figure recorded in the same period as of February 2020. We will be monitoring how this number changes in the coming days.


If you have any further questions, please contact: Geoffroy Robin.


InsightIQ Values: How is the A320ceo Family Performing?

IBA has seen market values for this aircraft family soften between January 2020 and January 2021, though not enough to adjust base values. Performance differs by family member, the A319 suffering the greatest reduction in value and biggest growth in fleet exits, retirements and storage as illustrated using InsightIQ Fleet data in the charts below.


The A321 has demanded comparatively less market value adjustments, seeing more utilisation during Covid and having better potential for freighter conversion.



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The middle ground A320 has attracted significant downgrades in both value and lease rates as demonstrated by IBA's InsightIQ Values in the tables below. The picture for lease extensions has been more encouraging than for secondary lease placements. Trends for extensions, whilst not matching pre-Covid levels, have been positive whereas severe pressure has been exerted on secondary lease rates.


IBA's outlook for the A320ceo

This aircraft has a future recovery position and offers opportunities at low pricing given the amount of value already eradicated. The demand for freight will continue and will profit from some good feedstock pricing, this will in turn afford more stability for the type, but won't have much influence on older or midlife values given market oversupply at the current time.


If you have any further questions please contact: Mike Yeomans


InsightIQ Flights: Data Shows a Substantial Drop in Flight Numbers Across All Major Regions

InsightIQ data revealed a substantial drop in flight numbers across all major regions other than the Middle East between 25th and 31st January, capacity falling by slightly more than 8% overall in the three weeks from 11th January. 

A black tablet, placed on a table, showing aviation data on the screen



IBA witnessed the greatest decline in the APAC market; growing incidences of Covid-19 in the region, especially in China, forced operators to cut capacity by 10,000 flights over the seven days and by more than 24,000 since 11th January. 2020's customary Chinese New Year migrations played a fundamental role in the pandemic's spread within China and people are being encouraged not to travel over this Lunar New Year period. China's transport ministry expects total trips by air, rail and road to be 40% down on 2019. Capacity in both China and Japan fell last week, 20% and 5% respectively.

In Europe capacity improved slightly last week, operators such as SAS, the LCC Pegasus and the regional carrier Wideroe, running 29%, 8% and 4% more flights respectively. In contrast, Ryanair, formerly Europe's largest operator, ranked 11th and continued its capacity reduction plan with a further 15% drop. It has pledged to maintain low capacity until European travel restrictions ease.


If you have any further questions please contact: Geoffroy Robin