The latest quarterly Airline Business Index shows the global airline industry reached exactly two-thirds of its pre-crisis size at the mid-point of 2021. 

The overall score of 66 (2019 = 100) represents an increase of six from the score on 31 March 2021 and seven from the 31 December 2020 result.

Using data from 13 of the largest airline groups that release quarterly results, the index considers four metrics: size of workforce by employee number, size of fleet (in-service and stored), and revenue and passenger numbers at the end of the most recent reporting period – in this case, the second quarter of 2021. 

It compares those figures with equivalent pre-crisis data from 2019. 

The index continues to show a disconnect between the fundamentals of the businesses – employee count and fleet size – and the operating performances, although the gap closed in the latest data.

Indeed, as parts of the industry began to recover from the demand lows seen at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, passenger numbers and operating revenue rose significantly during the second quarter. The two measures remain below 50% of 2019 levels, however.

With many operators yet to complete restructuring programmes, both employee count and fleet size remain vulnerable to reductions in the coming quarters.

On a quarterly basis, FlightGlobal releases an updated Airline Business Index as the industry attempts to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

Notes: Data from reporting for the three-month period to 30 June 2021 (or nearest half-year period), taken from publicly available records. Workforce and fleet sizes compared with end-2019 levels. Revenue and passenger number metrics compared with data from the equivalent period in 2019. Basket of 13 airlines based on the largest carriers/groups that report quarterly or half-yearly results from FlightGlobal’s World Airline Rankings based on revenues. Overall index score is an average of the scores for the four individual metrics.