European Travel Continues Recovery Despite Restrictions

The European aviation industry is continuing promising recovery, now also beginning to see stable, if gradual growth in its share of international capacity.

Growth has slowed its pace, however, and some industry experts blame this in part on a non-uniform approach to Europe’s easing of restrictions. The differing guidelines for testing, vaccinations, distancing measures and quarantine, for instance, are creating confusion for many passengers, making travel complex and reducing confidence.

A-ICE, based in Europe, understands the realities of the challenges still faced by airlines and airports across the continent, yet also recognizes the opportunities that lie ahead. Let’s take a look at how recovery is taxiing ahead, and what airports are doing to embrace growth despite the restrictions.

European Travel Continues Recovery Despite Restrictions

Charting a steady recovery in Europe

Across the European continent, the vaccine rollout has contributed to steady recovery, following a peak rise last summer. Measuring growth has been in terms of comparison to 2019 figures, and we are now seeing 33.6% below 2019 seat numbers. In June 2021, this figure was 47% below 2019 demand, demonstrating that growth is continuing its upward trend and on the correct flight path.

The driving forces for growth

There are several forces at work driving growth in Europe’s aviation community. In addition to a general easing of travel restrictions in the region, there is a wider adoption of airport technology, which is helping to manage some of the wider challenges.

Across the industry, there has been a strong sense of optimism as inevitable changes have been made to operational processes to introduce flexibility and provide a leaner business model. Even in recent pre-pandemic years, the traditional, fixed economic model has proved difficult, and this has only been further highlighted by the impact of Covid-19.

Competitive pressure has also driven airlines and operators to tighten operations and increase efficiency. The opportunity, and perhaps even the need, for diversity is clear across the global aviation environment and Europe is ideally placed to remain competitive.

Uneven easing of restrictions concerns aviation professionals

One area of concern across the aviation industry for many experts is the uneven rollout of easing of restrictions in European countries. During the recent slowdown in growth figures, it has been highlighted by some that wavering regulatory requirements are creating travel confusion and reducing confidence in both passengers and operators.

Restrictions and guidelines vary from country to country, and include:

  • Testing requirements
  • Vaccination requirements
  • Health pass guidelines
  • Distancing guidelines
  • Documentation checks
  • Quarantine rules
  • Mask wearing guidance
  • and more.

If the European aviation industry is to fully embrace the opportunities presented by promising growth, flexibility and the ability to adapt to this new environment will be key.

Embracing the opportunities

Aviation technology is providing the industry with the means to increase passenger confidence, tighten operations and embrace a new business model. European airports and airlines are increasingly working with cloud solutions and providing passengers with smarter processing, virtual queuing and real-time information to create a safer, smoother experience.

The adoption of airport technology is delivering a better way to manage resources, while simultaneously meeting vital distancing and other health guidelines to keep both staff and passengers safe. The key to maintaining growth recovery lies in the ability to adapt and evolve during times of both uncertainty and opportunity, whether on the ground or in the air. Talk to us.


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