Eurocontrol signals tough time for regional aviation

The latest seven-year traffic forecast from European Network Manager EUROCONTROL reveals a continued erosion of domestic traffic, with the regional market segment ending 2022 around 19 per cent below 2019 levels.

The forecast was published on 31 March, updating the previous forecast that was issued last autumn. Taking into account recovering traffic trends, routing – no return to ‘normal’ routing  i.e. prior to the closure of Ukrainian and Russian airspaces – and economic forecasts, the report stays consistent with previous methodologies and presents a high/baseline/low forecast accounting for the impact of the invasion of Ukraine on the economy and environmental pressures.

The key points in the report can be summarised as below:

  • Since October 2022, flight movements in Europe have developed in line with the base scenario.
  • The number of European flights in 2023 and 2024 has been slightly revised upwards due to the continuation of pent-up demand (solid bookings, strong tourist flows in Southern Europe),
  • EUROCONTROL expects to reach 2019 flight levels (11.1 million) in 2025.
  • After 2025, the flight growth is expected to average a weak rate of 1.5 per cent per year in the base forecast, owing to the greater uncertainties within the 7-year horizon (higher inflation, pressure on oil prices, environmental concerns). As downside risks prevail, the number of flights in the low forecast stagnates from 2025 onwards.

The report also contains financial service unit forecasts and several useful links to air traffic dashboards.

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