A lingering shakeup in European skies

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By Vincent Valery


Aug. 11, 2020, © Leeham News: There is a shake-up still to come for European airlines.

LNA wrote in early March about the financial vulnerability of several European airlines as the COVID-19 outbreak was intensifying. The article was released before European countries closed their borders, and the US banned inbound travel for non-residents from the old continent.

Fast forward five months, and the airline industry is in its gravest crisis since World War II. After bouncing from the lows in April and May, a passenger traffic recovery remains elusive. Some European countries are re-implementing travel restrictions as new (for now localized) outbreaks emerge.

Despite the unprecedented slump in passenger traffic, Flybe is the only sizable European carrier to have ceased operations since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Several smaller carriers declared bankruptcies or ceased operations.

LNA analyzes why some carriers went under while others did not, and assesses how various market segments might recover.

  • Numerous airlines too interconnected to fail;
  • The worst-case comes true for European regional airlines;
  • Some unlikely (relative) winners and losers;
  • A treacherous road to recovery.

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