Air transport: in Europe, a take-off in slow motion

Paris | After’uppercut brought to the airlines by the Covid-19, traffic slowly resumes in Europe as the borders are reopened, but thousands of jobs remain at risk.

A very slow recovery According to Iata, the large international association in the sector, for reasons of both traffic restrictions and fears of travelers, traffic will first restart on the domestic markets, then continental and finally in the fourth quarter on long-haul flights. It would not return to its 2019 level until 2023.

European countries must for example decide on a proposed list of about fifteen states whose travelers will be admitted to the Union on 1er July, which excludes the United States and which includes China conditionally.

In Europe, in the week from June 15 to 21, 7,706 flights were operated on average per day, (-77.9% compared to the same period in 2019), mainly by Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Wizz Air, Wideroe , DHL and Air France, according to the Eurocontrol organization. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport was the busiest, followed by Frankfurt, Schiphol (Amsterdam), Heathrow (London) and Istanbul.

Globally, passenger traffic bottomed out in April, plunging 94.3% (measured in paid passenger kilometers, or RPK) compared to April 2019.

Which destinations in Europe?

Portuguese capital Lisbon tops airline ticket bookings in Europe during the first half of June, ahead of Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Rome, Madrid, Frankfurt, Vienna, Barcelona and London, according to data released by the company on Monday specialized Forwardkeys.

A year ago, the British capital topped reservations. This relegation reflects the effect of the quarantine measures put in place, according to the company.

“Countries that have implemented quarantine measures have seen traffic reductions similar to a total flight ban,” said Brian Pearce, chief economist at Iata.

The organization of the airlines pleads in favor of the implementation by the airports and the companies of sanitary measures (wearing of the mask, taking of temperatures, declaration of health …)

The worst yet to come?

Government aid “has saved thousands of jobs and allowed companies to maintain links. But I’m afraid the worst is yet to come, “said Rafaël Schvartzman, vice-president of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) for Europe, in mid-June.

Usually, “companies rely on the summer season to build financial reserves for the more difficult winter months (…) There will be no summer reserves” this year, he added. .

European companies are expected to record a net loss of $ 21.5 billion in 2020 (compared to a net profit of $ 6.5 billion in 2019), which could threaten “6 to 7 million aviation-related jobs in Europe “, According to Iata.

Future or recent clear cuts in Europe

Friday, Air France must present the impact on employment of its “reconstruction plan” which will involve a drastic reduction in domestic connections and will result, according to the unions, in thousands of job cuts, without forced departures.

For his part Guillaume Faury, the executive president of Airbus, who reduced production rates by a third, warned that the group could be led to make “bitter” and “difficult” decisions for employment “before end of July “.

For a week, for example:

  • The Swiss airport services group Swissport has announced the loss of more than 4,000 jobs in the United Kingdom.
  • The aircraft interior design firm Jet Aviation will cut about 200 jobs at its site at Basel-Mulhouse Franco-Swiss Airport.
  • The Swiss duty-free store operator Dufry will cut staff costs from 20% to 35%.
  • The Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines companies will close the German subsidiary of their Sunexpress joint venture, threatening 1,200 jobs.
  • The Austrian branch of Level, the low-cost long-haul subsidiary of the British group IAG, has filed for bankruptcy.

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