Desperate optimism at Lufthansa?

LufthansaParked Lufthansa aircraft claims it observes a sharp rise in bookings for the upcoming holiday season, both for intra-European and intercontinental flights. In particular bookings to South Africa, Namibia, the Canary Islands, Madeira and sunny destinations in the Mediterranean would be on the rise. But also snow-assured areas in Northern Finland are popular according to Lufthansa.

No absolute number of bookings

The carrier doesn’t report absolute numbers, but all airlines have been complaining about the low number of travelers. An increase in the number of bookings, say from 5,000 to 25,000, is a 400% rise. But in absolute terms that is still a modest increase.

European air traffic quiet

Eurocontrol's Director General Eamonn Brennan

Eamonn Brennan

Air traffic in Europe will remain most likely quiet in the next few years. Eamonn Brennan, Eurocontrol’s Director General is not optimistic: ”Even in the most positive scenario, we don’t expect a recovery to 2019 levels before 2024. There is a very real prospect that this recovery could take even longer, perhaps to as far out as 2029.”

Pessimism at Eurocontrol

Brennan considers this a catastrophic picture for the aviation industry. “It clearly shows why it is so important for European states to take consistent and coherent measures to support the aviation industry and make passengers feel safe to fly again.”

Recovery by 2029?

“In the most optimistic scenario,” says Brennan, “European air traffic will return to 2019 levels by 2024. But in the second most likely scenario, 2024 traffic will only be at 92% of the 2019 figure. And in the third scenario, traffic in 2024 would be 75% of the 2019 figure. Then we wouldn’t reach numbers seen in 2019 until 2029.”

Lufthansa customers changing their bookingsPassengers’ mood

Given this grim picture it is understandable that Lufthansa wants to show optimism. The carrier has scheduled flights from Frankfurt and Munich to almost every island in the Canary Islands. In addition, it has included flights to ski resorts in Northern Finland. We will have to wait and see whether passengers will be as optimistic as Lufthansa.

Related: Miles & More will change and Coronavirus: comparing Lufthansa and KLM

Tags: Lufthansa, Eurocontrol, European aviation

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