Research by travel analytics company ForwardKeys has shown that aviation capacity has drastically fallen in the first of week April as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring the aviation industry to its knees.
Only ten million seats in service
In the week leading up to April 5th, international airline seat capacity fell to just 23 percent of what it was in the first week of April last year. Only ten million seats were in service, only for essential travel, as compared to 44.2 million a year ago. A look back over the first quarter reveals that airline seat capacity is down 9.4 percent compared with quarter one of 2019.
Only 482 million seats were in service in the first three months of 2020, compared with 532 million in quarter one of 2019. At the start of January, capacity was slightly higher than last year. Things started to change in the last week of January when the Chinese government announced restrictions on outbound travel. From the last week of January till mid-March, air capacity continued to fall substantially.
The top ten airlines still operating in the first week of April are KLM, with 800,000 seats still in service, Qatar Airways, with nearly 500,000 seats in service and Ryanair with 400,000.
Olivier Ponti, vice president, insights, ForwardKeys, said: “Governments have closed entire countries; and in response, the airline industry has cut services to the bone. It is likely that when we get to the other side of the pandemic, things won’t return to the vibrant market conditions we had at the start of the year, anywhere near as easily as some people imagine.By then, it is possible that a number of airlines will have gone bust; consumers will have lost confidence in flying and uneconomic discounts will be necessary to attract demand back.”
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