The recovery in Europe’s air traffic hit a new milestone as people take to the skies again for summer vacations.
Aside from a brief pickup around Christmas, the continent’s air traffic is at its highest compared with pre-Covid levels since March last year, when continent’s lockdowns really began to affect demand. On Sunday it rose just above 50% of 2019 levels based on a seven-day moving average, data from Eurocontrol show.
The revival offers some hope to the continent’s airlines, but also its oil refiners who’ve seen demand for aviation fuel collapse. The pandemic-driven slump in flying saw them divert production of normally valuable jet fuel into other oil products like diesel and naphtha.
In April, consumption of jet fuel and kerosene in OECD Europe was 690,000 barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s an increase of 74% compared with a year earlier.
While the recovery is gathering pace, there’s still a long way to go. Even in Eurocontrol’s most-optimistic scenario, the continent’s air traffic is only set to reach 79% of 2019 levels by the end of this year.