Global air traffic is only slowly recovering from its coronavirus low. Around the world, planned airline seat capacity was still around 30 percent lower as of March 14, 2022, than on March 11, 2019 – before fleets were grounded due to Covid-19. In March of 2021, seat capacity had still been 80 percent below pre-crisis levels.
But the recovery is largely buoyed by the high-volume North American market, where seat capacity this month was only around 15 percent below the level of March 2019. Seat numbers were even above 2019 levels in Central America and Upper South America. Other larger markets that have achieved at least average recovery are the Middle East (-28 percent) and South Asia (-2 percent).
Numbers from travel data service Official Airline Guide also show where below-average recovery has taken place. Trailing all others is the South East Asian market - still almost 85 percent unrecovered due to the lack of tourists that normally flock to the region. The Southwest Pacific displays the second-to-worst result with seat numbers around 64 percent below pre-corona capacity.
Asia has maintained zero Covid strategies in many places and several country borders have remained sealed shut, most notably in China and Japan. The North East Asian market’s recovery is therefore also below average at 37 percent fewer planned seats than before the pandemic. This is largely due to the number of domestic seats rising again, while international seat capacity remains seriously diminished.
Because of Covid-19, most airlines have recorded major losses. The impact on airports around the world is also enormous. The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus reduced its global jet production by around a third due to the effects of the crisis on its customers.