The latest quarterly Airline Business Index shows the global airline industry is still below two-thirds of its pre-pandemic size, at a score of 60 (2019 = 100), with only a small uptick in the data over the three months to 31 March 2021.  

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 first quarter of 2021. 

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

The index continues to show a strong disconnect between the fundamentals of the businesses – employee count and fleet size – and the operating performance. 

That partly reflects an expectation that the industry will begin to recover from the demand lows seen in recent months during the second half of 2021, but also the fact that many carriers are only part-way through the resizing of their businesses, with employee layoffs, redundancies and fleet retirements taking some time to action. 

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 31 March 2021 (or nearest half-year period), taken from publicly available records. 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. The overall index score could eventually exceed 100 while some metrics remain below that level, helping to demonstrate fundamental changes to the industry.