June Global Capacity Set To Be Just 14% Behind 2019

June is set to be the best month for airlines globally in terms of capacity since 2019, with numbers down only 14.2.% compared to three years ago. While the recovery remains uneven globally, with some markets dropping seats, the trends point toward a huge summer recovery for carriers worldwide.

Things are looking up

Data from OAG shows how aviation markets have recovered in June 2022 compared to the same month in 2019. The biggest gainer has been Central and Western Africa, which has grown 21.8% as more flights take off than ever. Central Asia is the next biggest increase at 12.9% more seats than before the pandemic rattled aviation. South Asia is the only region to have hit a true neutral, reaching pre-pandemic levels (but down slightly compared to last month, where it exceeded these numbers).

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However, global aviation remains under target as the three largest markets (North America, Western Europe, and North East Asia) still have some room to go before a full recovery. North America is down 8.4%, while Western Europe is further afield at 11.7%, and NE Asia (which includes China and Japan) is down 20.2%. The trio make up 66.7% of the global airline capacity, making their recovery crucial to a global one.

China recently exited major lockdowns and has seen airline traffic surge again. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

Notably, capacity has improved from May 2022 by 6.7%, primarily due to 27.6% jump in seats in NE Asia as China eases COVID restrictions once again. As summer approaches, North America has seen a 2.3% monthly jump and Western Europe 5.6% despite some staffing troubles at the latter.

Leisure routes ahead

As expected this time of year, travelers are looking to run toward the sun and beaches. UK-Spain and Germany-Spain are the first and third-busiest routes in the world, but both are down 9.6% and 11.8% compared to 2019. Mexico-US and Canada-US occupy the second and fourth spots, more popular tourism and VFR markets. The former is up a massive 18%, while the latter is still struggling at 16.7% under 2019 figures.

The flagship US-UK market (sixth busiest) is down 17.4% compared to before the pandemic but has improved in recent months and will do so more as testing requirements are dropped. European holiday destinations dominate the top 20, taking up 15 places, as low-cost airlines pave the way for a recovery in the region.

Ryanair recently hit a monthly passenger record as passengers eagerly returned to the skies. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

However, on the airline front, US carriers dominate with frequencies. American, Delta, United, and Southwest lead the pack, but all down compared to 2019, while Ryanair cracks the top 5 with an impressive 20% gain. China Southern and Eastern take up the next two spots as the domestic market propels the pair despite nominal international flights. EasyJet and IndiGo make the top 10 once again as India’s domestic market remains strong and international traffic.

How do you think the global airline recovery is going? Let us know in the comments!