Gavin Eccles 2022
Back in March 2021, we spoke to Managing Consultant and Aviation Expert Gavin Eccles, who addressed growing concerns across the industry about the impact of flight restrictions on travel. Fast-forward to July 2022, and we have seen commercial airlines and flight travel go from zero to 100, both in terms of demand and capacity.
This swift transition from downturn to recovery has significantly impacted both human resources and pricing across the industry, raising new concerns around cancellations and the impact on consumer confidence, as well as whether the sky-high prices we’re seeing this summer will hold during the winter period.
To address these concerns, we decided to catch up once again with Gavin to get his take on the challenges commercial airlines are facing today and what the impact may potentially be in the near future.
Back in winter 2021, we didn’t anticipate just how quickly airlines would increase capacity over just a few short months leading to summer 2022.
Thinking about the broader travel industry, how optimistic do you feel about business performance in 2022 and why?
Air travel has really boomed this year! If you look at summer 2022 compared to 2021, aviation is approximately 14% down on total seat capacity vs 2019. When you consider that China is not contributing to international travel currently, we can see that capacity and demand recovery is moving much quicker than consultants suggested back in 2020.
Currently, capacity is at around 100 million seats per week, which is a threefold increase compared to 2021. Back in 2020, we had around 15,000 aircraft parked, and by February 2022 we were down to around 8,000.
Back in winter 2021, we didn’t anticipate just how quickly airlines would increase capacity over just a few short months leading to summer 2022. The industry also didn’t consider the implications such a rapid increase would be in our heavily regulated industry where recruiting and hiring takes more time. Taking this into consideration, you can see why there is some concern that airlines have increased capacity so dramatically.
Having said this, airlines have been agile in responding to the human resources challenges by removing a little capacity in relation with staff shortages. Overall, airlines have been bullish with capacity this summer, and there is certainly an optimistic outlook for the summer months. However, there is some concern around what may unfold from November onward, when consumers may start to feel the pinch of inflation.