The war in Ukraine has yet to have a major impact on the recovery of Europe’s aviation sector, according to aviation data company Cirium.
The conflict, which started on 24 February, has only so far caused a “minor tick down” for the European airline market, said analysts from the Ascend by Cirium consultancy.
Although Russia’s international flights have suffered a “dramatic decline” of up to 90 per cent with the EU, UK and other nations closing their airspace to Russian airlines following the invasion of Ukraine.
Rob Morris, global head of consultancy at Ascend by Cirium, said the European market had seen a “strong recovery”, since being affected by the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the early weeks of the year.
“There was a minor tick down induced by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the market is still 12 per cent lower than April 2019,” he added. “The recovery trend is continuing and the indications are that we are set fair for a strong summer in Europe.”
Senior consultant Richard Evans added that the Russian market only accounted for 4.5 per cent of global airline traffic before Covid.
“There’s been a dramatic decline [in Russia] since January, particularly for international flights, which are now down to almost nothing,” said Evans. “Domestic flights are also down 40 per cent and are going to decline further.
“Other than countries bordering Ukraine and Russia, there’s no evidence of demand being influenced. There’s nothing to make us think that western Europe is going to be threatened by this, at the moment.”
But Evans warned there could be a wider economic impact on demand for air travel due to the “shock” of higher energy prices and inflation, which could eventually slow bookings for airlines.
Ascend by Cirium is currently predicting that global airline traffic in 2022 will be around 10-15 per cent down on 2019 levels. Although some markets including transatlantic and European short-haul routes are expected to have “fundamentally recovered” by the end of this year.