Data from IBA's InsightIQ platform has revealed strong regional variations in flight data and recovery of load factors.
Domestic flights make up 80% of all global aircraft movements, but passenger travel remains subdued globally at only 60% of pre-pandemic figures.
Domestic routes in North America and the Asia Pacific region, especially China, Australia and Japan, are driving recovery.
Utilisation in North America and Asia Pacific grew to 79% and 66% respectively by the end of April 2021.
The European market's comparative sluggishness stands out, increasing from February's 27% of pre-Covid volumes to 33% in the same period.
With reduced belly capacity in the passenger market prevailing, freighter utilisation is still buoyant at 139% of pre-Covid volumes.
Having slumped to historic industry lows, load factors are starting to climb away from rock bottom. Europe and the Middle East are still languishing as a result of restrictions and their dependency on international travel. Despite this, InsightIQ reveals a significant spike in flight bookings to countries allocated a 'green' rating in the UK government's traffic light travel list published on May 7th. Flights to countries such as Iceland and Gibraltar, which UK residents can visit without having to isolate on their return, saw a substantial rise in demand, demonstrating strong pent-up appetite for leisure travel. Flights to Portugal also feature in this trend, though with Portugal's removal from the UK green list on 03 June, this is likely to change. Traditional summer holiday destinations, specifically France, Spain, Greece and Italy have not seen the same rebound. This is most likely due to tighter travel controls. Despite this, around 40% of start-up airlines planned to launch in 2021-2022 are to be based in Europe.
With July's proposed introduction of a digital EU Covid certificate enabling free movement within Europe for eligible travellers and plans to allow entry to certain vaccinated international passengers, IBA anticipates a further boost to leisure travel demand. Delayed relaxation of travel restraints could hamper recovery - but we remain optimistic of a continued upward trend.
If you have any further questions please get in touch: Phil Seymour
IBA's InsightIQ analysis platform flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft, engine, lease rate and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles.
Despite current aircraft utilisation falling far short of pre-pandemic levels, the industry is witnessing a modest boom in new airlines, with over 130 start-ups preparing for take-off in 2021 and 2022.
- Airlines remain loss-making, but some quarter on quarter improvements - - Fleet exits continuing, but younger aircraft value drops limited - - Modest recovery in some domestic markets, but load factors low - - OEM production rates constrained, with MAX return set to shift market dynamics -