Eurocontrol’s latest forecast predicts that the number of European flights will reach pre-pandemic levels of around 11 million flights by 2025.
1. Spring forecast
On April 3, Eurocontrol published its spring forecast, revealing that air traffic in Europe should reach over 11 million flights once more by 2025. Since the standstill caused by Covid-19, which rendered airports empty, the European flight industry has been attempting to reach air traffic pre-pandemic levels.
Last year, the air traffic monitoring group Eurocontrol found that European air traffic had reached 83% of these pre-pandemic levels which has allowed them to review their upcoming forecast. Eurocontrol attributes the positive outlook to the fact that demand had grown in recent years, reflected by a rise in flight bookings particularly from the south of Europe.
Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s latest figures on passenger numbers across Europe’s airports also reveal a 48% soar in February, compared to the same month a year ago, providing further evidence of aviation’s growing recovery from the global pandemic. Ten national markets achieved or exceeded a full recovery in February, ACI Europe said, with the best performances coming from airports in Portugal (+18.9%), Luxembourg (+10.9%), Cyprus (+9.7%), Malta (+5.3%) and Bulgaria (+4.9%).
2. 5G technology
Another factor contributing to a growing demand in flight bookings, according to Eurocontrol, is the EU’s decision of allowing airlines to install 5G technology on their aircraft. The move would allow passengers to use their smartphones while flying.
“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies. The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” said Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market last November.
However, Eurocontrol has called for caution, as it is only predicting a slight annual growth of 1.5% after 2025, with the group explaining that “uncertainties surrounding the economy, possible geopolitical escalations or other unpredictable events may negatively impact this forecast.”