IBA outlined how utilisation has grown from 55 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in February in both Asia Pacific and North America, to 79 per cent and 66 per cent respectively by the end of April 2021. Domestic routes currently account for over 80 per cent of all flights according to data from IBA’s Insight.IQ intelligence platform.
By contrast, utilisation in Europe has remained largely flat, increasing from a much lower operating level of 27 per cent to just 33 per cent during the same period. Utilisation in Africa and Latin America, while both operating at over 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, fell from February to April, and in the Middle East grew only marginally from 49 per cent to 51 per cent.
Over 130 new airlines preparing to take off
Despite the regional variance in the recovery of domestic travel, and continuing low levels of international traffic, over 130 new airlines are preparing to take to the skies in 2021 and 2022, making the most of the current low costs of aircraft acquisition and leasing.
Phil Seymour, IBA’s President, commented: “The start of the aviation recovery is proving to be inconsistent and domestically focused, with inertia in many markets caused by a combination of new virus variants, local restrictions, infection rates and the varying pace of vaccine rollout. International traffic between regions remains at very low levels right across the globe.
“Ironically, the pandemic has created appealing economics for start-up airlines. Many new entrants are set to launch in the next 12 months, and attempt to meet the pent-up demand for air travel that now clearly exists.”