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European traffic in this month of August flies at half of a year ago, Ryanair and Wizz Air have put their entire fleet into circulation in an attempt to conquer as much of the continental market as possible, while other giants do not go beyond 40-50%.
What was once one of the winning features of the two low cost, that is the massive use of aircraft, in this case translates into a lower use given by the absence of other players usually more present.
After a long period of global aviation hibernation due to the pandemic and travel blockages, with two-thirds of commercial aircraft on the ground between March and April according to specialist company Cirium, there was a partial recovery in July. , especially in Europe.
We are still far from the pre-Covid levels which, according to Iata, the main international association of carriers, could meet again in 2023-2024.
In fact, as of August 23, out of 5,226 aircraft used for passenger transport, 64.7% flew.
It is a number in a peak summer period in which airlines usually struggle to find other planes to answer the question.
Of these, 71.7% of short and medium range aircraft are in service, which are models used by low cost aircraft, confirming the movements that are limited to the Old Continent.
In parallel, 59.5% of regional jets are also taking off, while most of the aircraft used for intercontinental flights remain on the ground also due to the prohibitive provisions still in force in most countries.
At the level of companies, we note the aggressive approach of low cost.
In recent weeks, 99% of Ryanair’s fleet (over 450 aircraft) and almost 97% of Wizz Air’s are flying.
Next up is another low-cost carrier, Pegasus (Turkey), with 95% of the aircraft in operation.
In this ranking, the decision of the traditional carriers KLM (Holland) and Swiss (Switzerland) is striking, which have put 87 and 76% of their aircraft back into circulation, in a period where long-haul connections are reduced to a minimum. .
More attentive to the numbers, the low cost easyJet which flies to 71% of the fleet. With 61.5%, Alitalia is using more aircraft than Air France (61%), British Airways (53%) and Lufthansa (42%).
However, the proportion must not make us forget that we are dealing with fleets that differ from each other in terms of type and number.
Because, for example, Ryanair has over 450 aircraft, while Wizz Air has around 130. As well as, if you go to see the connections operated within a day, the Irish low cost wins in an important way on the pursuers with almost 1,900 flights in 24 hours, over 700 more than easyJet and 1,300 more than Wizz Air.
This is only one side of the strategies of the companies.
On a more in-depth analysis, the ranking changes if you look at how many flights, on average each day, are made with the planes put back into service. It is a relevant indicator because it helps to assess the efficiency of an airline: low cost airlines are because they are able to use the same jet more. All this takes place in a period of significant traffic drops: the planes in the sky, in short, are not all full.
According to Aci Europe, in the first week of August passengers in Europe are down by 69% compared to the same period in 2019, with Italy doing slightly better (-62%).
In July, there were 367,000 flights across the continent, over half a million fewer than a year ago, according to Icao, the UN civil aviation agency.
The road to return to normal is certainly still to be written.
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