Pan-European air navigation organisation Eurocontrol has underlined the importance of a co-ordinated approach to operational procedures and lifting of national restrictions during recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

It has illustrated the potential difference between scenarios based on co-ordinated measures — which Eurocontrol estimates would result in the loss of 45% of flights, some 5 million, this year – and unco-ordinated measures which would lose 57% of flights, around 6.2 million.

Eurocontrol forecast

Source: Eurocontrol

Draft traffic scenarios for 24 April 2020 using 2019 as baseline year

Lack of co-ordination, it says, will impede the rate of recovery. While the scenarios outlined are not a forecast, it stresses, they illustrate the impact of implementation of measures from mid-June which pick up in July.

“If airlines have to comply with one set of regulations on departure and another set when the flight arrives in another state, then this will be particularly onerous on the industry,” says the organisation.

“The difference between the two scenarios is significant and highlights that the development of a common approach is vital in order to minimise the disruption.”

Eurocontrol’s analysis assumes the return initially of intra-European traffic – based on the evidence that some 40% of domestic flights in China are operating – and this forms the basis of the scenario activity, which takes into account opinions from several organisations including ICAO, IATA, airline chiefs and the International Monetary Fund.

Civil air navigation organisation CANSO states that European traffic, in the second week of April 2020, fell by 89% compared with the first week of January.