EU airlines’ seat capacity almost back to pre-Covid levels

EU airlines’ seat capacity is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

According to an analysis by aviation market intelligence firm CAPA – Centre for Aviation, airline capacity is now at almost 89 per cent of 2019 levels.

Projected volumes for the fourth quarter of 2022 have also gone up slightly to 88 per cent over the last two weeks, as first reported by industry news website BTN.

Italy and Spain remain the markets with the highest capacity recovery, as they both are at 94 per cent of 2019 levels, followed by France with 92 per cent.

The UK is currently at 85 per cent of pre-Covid levels, up 2 per cent from May. 

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The industry’s recovery could nevertheless be hindered by capacity restrictions at major hubs such as Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol, which have extended their passenger cap until the end of October.

Commenting on the news, aviation analyst Alex Macheras told City A.M.: “While international air travel recovery is well underway, airlines have had no choice but to restrict their own growth this year amid the sector’s staff shortage and a strong summer demand following two years of restrictions.”

The Dutch airport announced in early August it would prolong the measure, capping the daily number of departing passengers to 67,500 in September and 69,500 in October.

The west London hub said last Monday it would maintain the limit, prompting airlines such as British Airways to axe 10,000 flights from its winter schedule

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