The benefits of strong immunization programs and a coordinated approach to reducing travel restrictions are starting to show in the European aviation industry’s favor.
The Ryanair Group stated on Friday that 5.3 million passengers were transported across the consortium’s aircraft network in June. This compared to 1.8 million travelers in May 2018 and 0.4 million in June 2020, representing an almost 300 percent increase.
The Irish Times reports that the number of flights and flight bookings has topped 50% of pre-pandemic levels, continuing a healthy trend for the European aviation business.
In a May projection, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary predicted that 4 million passengers will travel in June, with 7 to 9 million passengers going in July. The Euro football (soccer) tournament has also proven to be a boom for airlines, with games held around Europe and in the United Kingdom, and the event will continue until July 11th.
The tournament, which takes place every four years, was postponed from last year and is attracting a lot of attention as the first major multi-country sporting event since the outbreak began.
“After a year of postponement, it’s amazing to see the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament in full swing…. thousands of fans have already booked their seats with Ryanair to see and support their countries,” a spokeswoman for Ryanair said.
Because the actual number of Ryanair passengers in June was higher than Mr. O’Leary’s projection, it’s possible that July’s stats may be much higher. However, there are some troubling evidence that this isn’t the case. Coronavirus case numbers have been rising in a number of European countries as the Delta version of the virus spreads, according to reports from the end of June.
Case counts in the UK have surpassed those observed in late January, when countries were dealing with the virus’s “second wave.” As a result, travel restrictions put on travelers from the United Kingdom in some European countries have been maintained or upgraded.
Because of concerns about the number of Delta variant infections in the UK, Germany has made inbound travel with UK citizens “subject to pre-departure digital registration and 14-day quarantine with no exemptions and no possibility of early test and release (including for the fully vaccinated)” restricted.
Travel to Germany from the UK is only permitted if the passenger is a ‘German citizen, a resident, or their spouse/partner/child under the age of 18, or if you can plead an urgent humanitarian reason such as a close family loss.’
The management of the Delta variant, the impact of travel restrictions, and acceptance of vaccination status for arriving customers appear to be the only things holding European airlines back from a successful summer holiday season.