Air traffic temporarily returns to pre-crisis levels


This Friday, 200,000 flights were observed around the world. A level that has been observed more since December 2019.

As vaccination campaigns accelerate across the world, the airline industry begins to hope for a resumption of activity for the summer season. A renewed enthusiasm is already being felt in the figures for worldwide flights listed by the site flightradar.com: this displays in real time the flights which crisscross the globe. And it appears, these last two days, that the daily number of thefts exceeded 200,000. This level had not been reached since December 19, 2019, a few weeks before the coronavirus was officially isolated by the Chinese authorities.

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A sharp increase in demand

This notable upturn in activity is a warming-up for airlines, in full preparation for the summer season, which is crucial in terms of attendance and turnover. “The resumption of traffic this summer will be largely driven by short and medium-haul, while long-haul will remain very disturbed“, However predicts Bertrand Mouly-Aigrot, managing director of the specialized firm Archery Strategy Consulting, quoted by AFP. Due to the persistent uncertainties linked to the health crisis, many airlines are refocusing on their most popular destinations. Air France will thus strengthen its offer to Greece by 80%. The company will offer, in total, an offer equivalent to 65% of that of 2019.

The German company Lufthansa must also strengthen its offer in the face of demand: it is preparing to deploy its largest planes, including the “Jumbo-Jet»Boeing 747-8, to transport Germans to one of their favorite destinations: the island of Mallorca. Reservations for Palma have indeed increased 25-fold between April and June.

No return to normal before 2024

If the traffic recovery has been strong in recent days, industry players are warning: a real return to normal will take time. Several years, even: according to Augustin de Romanet, CEO of the Aéroports de Paris group (ADP), the aviation sector can only hope to recover the activity of the year 2019 between 2024 and 2027.

An analysis joined by the consulting firm Archery Strategy Consulting: in its forecasts published in early March, the firm also gave 2024 as a recovery horizon. The airline sector is required to remain cautious: in 2020, the airlines had seen their hopes of recovery showered by the epidemic resumption of the start of the school year in September. A similar risk still weighs on their activity since the threat of the appearance of a variant capable of thwarting vaccines still exists.

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