15
Aug

Coronavirus statistics snapshot – Hold onto the handbrake and celebrate the good times as global flight frequency growth stalls. Is this an anomaly, a plateau or are we set for another tipping point?

The last two weeks have represented key milestones in the recovery of air transport as flight frequencies and then capacity hit the 50% levels when compared to last year’s performance. A strange thing to celebrate and certainly something we didn’t expect at the start of the year, but there’s not been a lot of positive news in 2020. But will this be as good as its gets right now as the industry adapts to the ‘new normal’ environment?

There are some encouraging sounds coming from airlines, hotels and even destinations that demand is following capacity and business travel is also beginning to wake from its long slumber thanks to the return of flights and some improved travel sentiment. The removal of travel restrictions in some markets may still be in its infancy, but a worsening environment across Europe and new transmission in New Zealand has shown how swiftly those barriers can be reimposed.

How this will all impact the recovery of air transport remains to be seen. What is clear is that we have reached a key point. The Blue Swan Daily analysis of OAG schedule data for the week commencing 10-Aug-2020 shows that global flight frequencies have slipped just below the 413,500 figure recorded last week.

After week-on-week growth across seven successive weeks and in 12 of the past 13 weeks, global flight frequencies are down for the current week. OK, that reduction may be less than -0.1% – a mere 150 flight frequencies – and complemented by a capacity decline of less than half one per cent (-0.4%), the stalling of growth in a peak August travel week grabs attention.

We were here before back in the middle of June when the recovery previously stalled and flight frequencies dropped, again by less than -0.1%. That week was followed by a significant growth, a +17.2% rise, the only week-on-week rise in double-digits, but confidence that something similar will happen again next week is not so high.

The handbrake has certainly been pulled, but will this week’s decline in both frequencies and capacity translate into a bigger issue? This could just be an anomaly as was the case in June, it could represent a plateauing of the recovery as we hit what is a sustainable level of air service for the current circumstances, or worst of all it could mark the start of a new trend, a worryingly negative growth trend!

READ MORE via The Blue Swan DailyCoronavirus statistics snapshot – Hold onto the handbrake and celebrate the good times as global flight frequency growth stalls. Is this an anomaly, a plateau or are we set for another tipping point?