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European aviation. UK lags EU in opening up and in capacity recovery

In the past five weeks Europe has risen from worst-performing region ranked by seats as a percentage of 2019 levels to third out of six. The key driver has been an easing of international travel restrictions.

Europe's total seat numbers are 36.5% below 2019 levels in the week commencing 26-Jul-2021.

Although this is not very different from last week's -37.0%, Europe has moved from fourth to third in the regional ranking this week. The Middle East, where seat capacity is down by 46.8% versus 2019, remains at the bottom. This week (week commencing 26-Jul-2021), Africa is down by 39.8%, Asia Pacific by 38.7%, Latin America by 28.7%, and North America by 23.5%.

Yet Europe's progress on both capacity and easing travel restrictions has been stronger in the EU than in the UK.

In addition to providing more certainty and consistency over its green/amber/red lists, the UK needs to address the issue of testing – in particular the cost of testing and its necessity for fully vaccinated travellers.


  • Europe has 23.4 million seats this week vs 36.8 million – down 37% vs the same week of 2019. Europe is now third behind N. America and Lat Am on this measure.
  • Europe's schedules project capacity up from 34% of 2019 in 2Q2021 to 68% in 3Q2021. Europe's two leading LCCs plan big increases in 3Q2021.
  • EU is making better progress than UK with easing international travel restrictions.
  • The UK continues to lag Europe-wide capacity trends.
  • The UK needs to address the cost of testing for international travellers.

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