Aviation

In 2020, Malta saw a loss in air traffic of 59 per cent when comparing 2019 to 2020, amounting to 34,000 fewer flights.

The information comes to light from a Eurocontrol study on the impact of COVID-19 on European aviation, and includes an industry outlook for 2021. Eurocontrol is a pan-European civil-military organisation aimed at supporting European aviation.

In the study’s key conclusions and outlook for 2021, it found that European traffic for the whole of 2021 is expected to recover to 51 per cent of 2019 levels, with faster recovery expected from the summer onwards.

More failures can be expected in 2021, highlighting the need for financial support to the entire industry, the report noted.

It found that in 2020, €56.2 billion in net losses were registered for airlines, airports and air navigation service providers (ANSPs). There were 1.7 billion fewer passengers in 2020 with massive negative impacts on European flights.

There were 5 million flights in 2020 vs 11.1 million 2019, translating into an annual loss of 6.1 million flights.

Intra-European traffic was 54 per cent down, while Europe-Rest of the World traffic was down by 59 per cent.

In addition, low-cost carrier flights were down by 62 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, and scheduled carrier flights were down by 59 per cent.

It was found that 51 per cent of aircraft in Europe were grounded at year-end (4,118 of 8,048 airframes) while there were 191,000 announced direct job losses in Europe in the aviation industry.

The report also stressed that airlines and airports need clarity on slot exemptions in order to plan for 2021. In addition, it called for regional connectivity to be maintained, as well as urgent reform for air traffic services in order to ensure scalable capacity in the years ahead, with collaborative decision-making between ops stakeholders guided by the Eurocontrol network manager.

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