The latest update from ch-aviation capacities shows that airlines around the world have reduced their schedules during the last seven days by 21 million seats for the weeks of March 23-29 and March 30-April 5.
The world’s airlines now have capacity recovery scheduled for the month of May.
The situation remains dynamic as many governmental restrictions were imposed at the end of last week and some airlines announced additional reductions during the weekend and haven’t updated their schedules yet (i.e. Emirates announced intentions to stop all flights starting March 25).
Under normal circumstances, there are more than 100 million seats scheduled to depart each week, based on ch-aviation capacities module. The scheduled capacity for the current week is just above the 70-million mark, and the first week scheduled for now to recover above 100 million is May 4-10.
The largest market, Asia, got the smallest hit last week on scheduled capacity. For the next 5 weeks airlines are scheduling 15% fewer seats from Asia compared to capacity scheduled 7 days ago. The relatively smaller reduction comes from the fact the airlines suspended more services earlier and the China domestic market is on a recovery pattern as we analysed last week.
The second-largest largest market in the world remains North America, where airlines have reduced scheduled by 17% for the next 5 weeks. The airlines plan to reduce schedules by the middle of April and many reductions come not with an immediate effect. For example, the current week’s capacity is reduced by 9% only when the capacity of Easter week was reduced by 17%. It is highly likely North American airlines will review the demand and expand the reductions.
Europe got the most of capacity reductions during the last week. Airlines removed 45% of the seats scheduled for the current week. A week ago, airlines had 18 million seats scheduled to depart Europe for the week from March 23-29 but due to governments’ limitations of travel and airlines actions to match the demand, the scheduled number of seats for the current week fell under the 10-million mark. Airlines remain optimistic for the traffic to recover in May, but it may be that airlines were not able to plan properly for further schedules and focused on short-term actions. Nevertheless, if last week showed signs the airlines believed in traffic recovery for Easter period, now the optimism is pushed forward to the month of May, at least.
We don’t need to look far to see where the slower tempo of new aircraft deliveries is taking place.
The number of new deliveries in China, Hong Kong and Macao stopped when the region entered Covid-19. We noticed massive groundings of aircraft in these countries in February and new aircraft deliveries also stopped. There were no new aircraft deliveries to airlines from China, Hong Kong and Macao in February when 20 new aircraft were delivered on average per month in 2019. The last new aircraft was Airbus A320NEO delivered to Spring Airlines on January 22, 2020.
Based on what we saw in China/Hong Kong/Macao we can expect aircraft deliveries slowed down in Europe too. Europe was third-largest market by new aircraft deliveries in 2019:
The South American market got the longer tail of reductions in scheduled capacity. Many airlines reduced schedules for the full month of April. A sharp increase in capacity is now scheduled for the beginning of May, but this is subject to revision as situation continues to develop.
Africa is less effected by the COVID-19 pandemic so far, but the reductions in capacity scheduled are similar in percentage to Europe. The governments in Africa were fast to close their borders and the number of seats scheduled to depart the current week dropped by 41%.
The curves of scheduled capacity in Oceania are similar to the ones in North America. The capacity reductions are applied with a short lag and we see scheduled capacity at lower levels for April compared to the current week.
We recommend you to follow our news bulletins updated every hour to get latest understanding are the real plans for the airlines to react to existing situation.
We see airlines are updating schedules at unprecedented levels. Our “Route News” (available for ch-aviation schedules subscribers) got the biggest number of updates in one week: almost 300 articles posted in one week.
We will continue to monitor the situation on capacities and will post on our blog. Follow us here and follow our #chaviationcovid19updates on Linkedin.