UK and Germany bear brunt of cuts in airline capacity

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Airline capacity is continuing to be dramatically slashed back as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreads around the world.

Aviation data specialist OAG estimates that 33 million seats have been cut from global capacity by airlines in the past two weeks. This figure relates to flights departing in the first three months of 2022.

Carriers based in western Europe have been particularly badly affected and have cut another five per cent of capacity, accounting for 568,000 seats, in the past week alone. This means that airlines in the region are now operating at just 60 per cent of pre-Covid capacity.

Meanwhile, airlines based in eastern Europe have also cut capacity by another nine per cent in the past seven days.

OAG’s senior analyst John Grant said that both the UK and Germany were currently seeing airline seat capacity at less than 50 per cent of January 2020 levels before the pandemic hit the continent.

UK seat capacity was down by 53 per cent compared with two years ago, and the German market is faring even worse with seat numbers 55 per cent lower than in January 2020.

Grant said that Germany was currently the “weakest recovering market” among the world’s top 20 airline markets, with Lufthansa also falling out of the list of the top 20 carriers for capacity.

But Grant added that there were some signs that the impact of the Omicron surge was already “fading” within some major markets.

“Optimistically, if that is the case, then this variant could pass through most markets by the end of February, which would be a real positive indicator for the rest of the year,” he said.

source : businesstravelnewseurope

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