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13/04/2022

UK airline capacity will be close to 2019 levels in Summer 2022

Using schedules data, we explored UK airline seat capacity as we move into the Summer season of 2022, identifying that seat capacity is likely to reach just short of 30 million seats by August 2022.

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IBA's InsightIQ aviation intelligence platform will soon feature integrated flight schedules data from OAG. This will enable our clients to gain a range of new, predictive insights into future and historic flight capacity by multiple parameters including airline, route and geography, demonstrating trends over time.

 

Using schedules data, we explored UK airline seat capacity as we move into the Summer season of 2022, identifying that seat capacity is likely to reach just short of 30 million seats by August 2022.

 

Source: OAG

 

Airlines in the UK are experiencing a strong recovery in demand, an encouraging trend given the dire situation experienced throughout 2020 and 2021.

 

IBA expects the number of seats available between the UK and all destinations this August to be only 8% below the pre-pandemic Summer levels of August 2019. Most notably, seat capacity on routes between the UK and the main holiday destinations in Western Europe will be just 5% below that of August 2019.

 

Delays and cancellations continue to hamper airline efforts to cater for demand

A perfect storm of factors has combined to disrupt the ability of UK airlines to respond to demand in recent months. Our recent analysis identified a mix of increased schedules, staff absence and slow recruitment were contributing to flight cancellations. Despite this, IBA's view is that airlines and airports are doing a good job getting back to full capacity. In reality, only a very small percentage of flights are being cancelled in the UK and the vast majority of people will reach their destination without a problem. It is also important to note that this phenomenon is being experienced in other markets, such as North America.

The launch of Summer schedules in the UK means airlines have gone from 12 million seats on sale in January to over 22 million in April - essentially double the number of seats. It is inevitable that such a ramp-up won't go completely smoothly.

 

Will things get better by the summer?

In a word, yes. We anticipate airline performance overall will continue to improve, and delays and cancellations will reduce as we approach the Summer months. As the chart above shows, the largest ramp up in capacity is anticipated in April and May. As such, staffing levels at check-in, security and onboard crews should be stronger as new recruits come on-line. However, we do still expect delays to continue at immigration (which is outside the control of airlines or airports) for those unable to use the e-gates.

 

IBA's collaboration with OAG will bring a new level of enhanced predictive insights to InsightIQ, building on IBA's flight tracking partnerships with FlightRadar24 and Spire, which integrate comprehensive flight analytics into our leading aviation intelligence platform.

 

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