EUROCONTROL has released a short-term forecast, showing that 9.5 million flights are expected in the network this year (85% of 2019 levels), despite the impact of the invasion of Ukraine and global economic challenges.
This traffic forecast, which covers the period until the end of 2024, updates the previous forecast prepared in October 2021. It is based on:
- recent European traffic trends (until April 2022),
- the latest available economic forecast (Oxford Economics, May 2022),
- a revision of the existing three scenarios accounting for COVID-19 impact and timing of recovery and the impact of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia;
- no re-opening of the routes currently closed because of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
The Base scenario is considered as the most-likely scenario. For 2022, this scenario envisages about 9.5 million flights – corresponding to 85% of 2019. This is slightly below the level expected in the previous forecast publication for 2022 (89%) – largely as a result of the Omicron variant’s impact on the first quarter. It is now expected that the recovery to 2019 levels will take place during 2024, with the baseline scenario indicating 10.6 million flights in 2023, 5% down on 2019. However, there are still significant risks surrounding the forecast, not least as a result of rapidly-evolving events.
The Low scenario considers the impact of several downside risks, such as lingering/renewed effects of COVID-19 variants and economic risks (including high energy prices and a long term drop in people’s propensity to fly). In this scenario, we expect the recovery to 2019 levels to be delayed until after 2027.