"We believe that we will only reach 50 percent of flights in 2019 this year [...] and the big question is who survives in this sector," said Eamonn Brennan, Director General of the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol).
Speaking in an 'online' debate on the recovery of the aviation sector, one of the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Eamonn Brennan noted that European aviation is "facing a major challenge" due to Covid-19 and looked forward to "better news".
"So far, the situation has not changed much [compared to 2020] because with the second and third waves of Covid-19 more quarantines and restrictions are being imposed in Europe and this will only significantly deteriorate European aviation," he admitted.
Eamonn Brennan's hope is that "until Easter, the effects of vaccination will begin to be seen," a process that began at the end of last year in the European Union (EU) with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines, and which is expected to be repeated in the next few days with the Moderna drug.
Already talking about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe in 2020, Eamonn Brennan spoke of a 55 percent reduction in air traffic for the year as a whole compared to 2019, equivalent to 1.7 billion fewer passengers, which caused the loss of 191,000 jobs across the entire aviation value chain.
As for the impacts on airlines, according to Eurocontrol, easyJet (with -67 percent of air traffic) was the most affected in Europe, followed by Lufthansa (-65 percent), British Airways (-65 percent), Ryanair (-59 percent), SAS (-59 percent) and Air France (-57 percent).
The most affected airports were Amsterdam, Paris CDG, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Istanbul, Madrid Barajas, Munich and Barcelona.