[Travel News] Travel To Recover From Pandemic, But Might Be Affected By Ukraine War, Eurocontrol Report Says

In their latest forecast, Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, predicts a positive trend for airlines, airports and states, which signifies a recuperation from the COVID-19 pandemic, yet may be impeded by the Ukraine war.

The report considers:

  • European traffic trends lately (until April 2022),
  • the most recent economic projection (Oxford Economics, May 2022),
  • a review of the previous three scenarios to account for COVID-19's impact and recovery timeframe, as well as the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war;
  • There will be no reopening of roads that have been closed due to the Ukraine-Russia war.

According to the study, between May 26 and June 1, average daily flights reached 86 percent of 2019 levels, indicating that traffic peaked at around 30,000 passengers.

The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the Omicron variant, is believed to bear connections with a downward trend view by Oxford Economics (OEF), which signifies the effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, including the inflation and lower growth, primarily through more restrained consumption.

As OEF points out, the impact of macroeconomic on GDP baseline is apparent as it has reached the 5.0 threshold. Meanwhile, uncertainty is still high and risks seem considerable.

Rebounding back to 2019 levels next year is one of the three main scenarios, with the pandemic dwindling down to endemic level, which in turn begets the end of travel restrictions. In this scenario, long-haul flows would recover to pre-pandemic levels in the fall of 2023.

According to this baseline scenario, which projects a COVID-19 recovery by 2024, travellers’ assertiveness, stifled needs, and a quicker recuperation of business travel are to be expected.

Regarding the Russia-Ukraine ongoing conflict, the report reads: “Thanks to the savings glut effect, no impact of the increase of energy prices (including jet fuel price), food costs and ticket prices on purchasing power of travellers.” 

The second scenario, the baseline, sees the traffic’s recovery to pre-pandemic levels at the end of the year, i.e. the last quarter. However, in this scenario, stifled needs, saving glut, and decent travellers’ assertiveness would be restored slowly.

Not dissimilar to the previous scenario, staff shortage proved to be barely impactful. Regardless, energy prices increase, food costs, and ticket prices are expected to affect the recovery slightly negatively.

The last scenario expects the recovery of traffic in 2027. More specifically, it predicts the re-establishment, or continuation of, travel restrictions and even lockdown. Summer 2023 is the estimated time frame where the traffic is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

In this scenario, staff shortage would be making a big impact, rendering airports, airlines, and other actors in difficulties.

The Russia- Ukraine war is affecting flights over a number of countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Turkey. Other countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Norway, and Poland will also see less flight traffic.

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