Hope turns to optimism in the European aviation industry as the latest figures show strong signs of recovery. This comes as welcome news and comes with predictions of continued growth for the rest of the 3rd quarter, covering the summer months.
While this is a breath of fresh air for the industry, it also highlights the importance of preparing for the potential relaxation of international travel restrictions, progress with the adoption of digital airport technologies and widespread vaccination initiatives. We take a closer look at the data, trends affecting the industry at the current time and the technology available to harness the opportunities.
Latest figures show seat capacity recovery to 54% of pre-pandemic levels
According to recent data from CAPA, for the first time since March 2020, seat capacity in the week commencing 28th June 2021 had recovered to above 50% of pre-pandemic levels. This significant rise marks a peak in the previous trending figures:
- Q1 – 2021 – 27% of 2019 capacity
- Q2 – 2021 – 34% of 2019 capacity
- At the start of Q3 – 2021 the figure is 54% of 2019 capacity
So far, industry experts remain optimistic and are forecasting further recovery on 2019 capacity to 72% by the end of Q3 – 2021. This will be dependent on international, rather than simply domestic capacity.
Promising recovery news comes with an industry warning
Growth and recovery of passenger numbers are anxiously awaited, promising and positive news. However, ACI Europe warn that the advent of lifted travel restrictions, coupled with rising regulations and additional documentation requirements is likely to bring back historic issues in terms of the pre-pandemic processing and capacity challenges.
This warning was echoed by IATA, who outlined potential problems if digital processes were not implemented. According to IATA data, passengers spent approximately 1.5 hours in processing during a typical pre-pandemic journey. Current figures suggest that during the pandemic, processing times have reached up to three hours, and with capacity currently at around 54% and rising, it is clear that greater efficiency is needed in a range of areas.
- Customs and border control
- Baggage processing and claim
IATA recommends digital processes
To help augment imminent plans to reduce further restrictions for vaccinated travellers, IATA has recommended the adoption of digital strategies and technologies to streamline and reduce time in passenger processing. This is because additional documentation will be needed in the processing stages if plans go ahead.
Digital and smart airport solutions have been streamlining operations in airports of all sizes across Europe for some time. They automate routine processes and tick compliance boxes for passengers, operators and ground handling teams, and communicate to form a fully integrated, end-to-end management platform.
A-ICE can help you to keep passengers moving
With optimism rising across the European aviation industry alongside the numbers, there has never been a better time for airports and operators to increase efficiency. It will be up to them to create the flexibility needed to future-proof operations, while ensuring a scalable approach that can adapt to inevitable regulatory changes quickly.
As European-based airport solutions providers, we recognize the opportunities and understand the challenges of both historic and current capacity and operational issues. Talk to us about changing your operational approach and find a new way of managing airport flow and operations.