We continue to monitor scheduled capacity from airlines around the world. This week we decided to look at the capacity numbers in a little different way. After closing the month of May and waiting on schedules for June to be prepared by the airlines, we looked at other developments during this crisis.

We believe the industry has reached the bottom and now see that recovery has begun. Our latest update on grounded fleets confirms that — by looking at what scheduled airline capacities looked like when COVID-19 reached the western world and what’s happened weekly since then.

The size of capacity for the current week (May 25-31) is 34.9 million seats – that is 1 million more than the previous week and 3.5 million more than two weeks ago. The growth of scheduled seats for the current week was 3% last week – so it will take many months to recover at that pace.

We continue to monitor the data from the ch-aviation capacities module.

Still, the graph of the capacity scheduled for the week (as taken just before each week starts) shows the capacity is growing slightly worldwide:

The largest market, Asia, showed recovery since the end of April, but the slight reduction last week illustrates that recovery will not be easy to achieve and it will not be fast. The China domestic market started to recover first, but we see this market now staying almost flat for the past few weeks. The airlines expect to jump back to 30 million seats in Asia in June, but we will see if this development will be achieved.

Airlines in North America finally found the bottom level of required capacity. As we see the number of passengers growing, according to U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) statistics and other sources, scheduled capacity remains flat in this region. This is mainly due to the fact that airlines kept a relatively high number of passengers so there is a lot of space to grow passenger numbers by slow-growing load factors toward the levels which we consider to be normal in this industry. The last few weeks’ capacity in North America varies around the 6 million mark. The fast growth is not expected in June – when looking at June’s capacity, we see airlines now have 9.4 million weekly seats scheduled for the middle of June.

Europe sees a clear path toward recovery and this week the scheduled capacity there is larger than in North America. Airlines have scheduled 6.3 million seats for the week of May 25-31. This is around 2.5 times more than the lowest point we saw from April 20-26, when airlines had 2.5 million seats in their schedules.

In South America we see reports of COVID-19 spreading and a few large airlines going into bankruptcy proceedings. The scheduled capacity stays very low in this region: despite the fact we saw smaller weeks than the current one, it is still just slightly more than 10% of the capacity we saw in the middle of March.

The downsize of Africa’s market is smaller than in South America, but we still cannot see positive signs of the recovery of the market. Yes, airlines remain optimistic and we see the current schedules show more than 2 million seats scheduled for June, but we still need to wait to see if this optimism will stay. Currently, the market stays low without recovery visible in weekly statistics.

In our previous analysis we saw Oceania being the region where scheduled airlines businesss went down the fastest and stayed at this level. Still, we can now clearly see slight reopenings. This week the region has 426,000 seats scheduled to be offered for passengers. That’s low compared to the level of March (2.7 million seats), but still more than the lowest point of 288,000 weekly seats. Yet the airlines are not optimistic there and we see, as of now, the 400,000-500,000 seat level will stay throughout the month of June.

We will continue to monitor the situation on capacities and will post on our blog. Follow us here and follow our #chaviationcovid19updates on Linkedin.

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