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EUROCONTROL’s 2022 to 2024 traffic forecast update

EUROCONTROL has released a new three-year forecast update for 2022 to 2024, which demonstrates that 9.5 million flights are expected in the network this year alone (2022).

This traffic forecast, which covers the period until the end of 2024, updates the previous forecast prepared in October 2021. It is based on:

  • Recent European traffic trends (until April 2022)
  • The latest available economic forecast (Oxford Economics, May 2022)
  • A revision of the existing three scenarios accounting for COVID-19 impact and timing of recovery and the impact of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia
  • No re-opening of the routes currently closed because of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

The Base scenario is considered as the most-likely scenario. For 2022, this scenario envisages about 9.5 million flights, corresponding to 85 per cent of 2019. This is slightly below the level expected in the previous forecast publication for 2022 (89 per cent), largely as a result of the Omicron variant’s impact on the first quarter. It is now expected that the recovery to 2019 levels will take place during 2024, with the baseline scenario indicating 10.6 million flights in 2023, five per cent down on 2019. However, there are still significant risks surrounding the forecast, not least as a result of rapidly-evolving events.

The Low scenario considers the impact of several downside risks, such as lingering/renewed effects of COVID-19 variants and economic risks (including high energy prices and a long term drop in people’s propensity to fly). In this scenario we expect the recovery to 2019 levels to be delayed until after 2027.

Credit: EUROCONTROL

The traffic forecast shows wide variation between States, with some Southern Europe states already reaching their 2019 levels before the end of 2022. The invasion of Ukraine is having a limited impact at European level but the re-routings to avoid closed airspaces are affecting the number of overflights in various countries, notably Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Latvia (fewer overflights); Armenia, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina (more overflights).

The next seven-year forecast update is scheduled for Autumn 2022.

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