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OAG says UK traffic recovery heading in right direction


Today marks three years since the start of the first COVID lockdown in the UK, and reflecting on the occasion, OAG’s chief analyst, John Grant, states that although traffic still lags behind 2019 levels, the national recovery is going in the right direction.

He says: “Our data shows that, three years on from the pandemic, air travel is making a steady recovery and is slowly catching up to pre-2019 levels.

“Global capacity is currently 5.6% below where it was in the same week in 2019, and 44% more than the same week in 2020. We can expect seat numbers to rise again as of next week, as booking for the summer season begins in earnest, with capacity rising to an estimates 104 million seats globally.

“This is despite the significant price increases that we have seen across almost all global airlines, led in part by the ongoing shortage of resources and staff, inflation, and the continuously high price of fuel, which led many airline CEOs to expect the first quarter of this year to be fairly challenging from a demand perspective.

“Yet, bookings remained high and results from the first quarter were much stronger than anyone expected.

“We can also expect recovery to be boosted by early indications that corporate and business travel: many hope that it will return to its pre-2019 levels by the end of this year. However, this will not be as important a factor as leisure travel in rebuilding and will not play an important part until after the summer season and into the second week of September.

“For now, we can say that recovery is going in the right direction, but caution is advised, as clearly, the past few years have been extremely disruptive and air travel is not completely out of the woods just yet.”

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