“For the fourth consecutive month, the number of flights has declined, with February experiencing a deepest drop, with only 1,077 flights taking place, a third of the number of flights in January. Both figures are very distant from the more than 10,000 flights / month operated in January and February 2019 and 2020”, says the executive president of TAP, Ramiro Sequeira.
In its internal newsletter, to which Lusa News Agency had access, the airline said that “in February the downward trend in terms of number of flights and capacity (ASK - Available seat kilometre) was accentuated, compared to February 2020, pre-pandemic”, with a 89 percent reduction in the number of flights and 92 percent in capacity“, due to the worsening of restrictive measures, by all regions of the world, as a way of containing the pandemic”.
This downward trend is also visible in the evolution of the number of flights over the past few months, said TAP.
TAP's global average occupancy rate, when weighted with the volume of flights performed each month, between October and December 2020, is 52 percent, twenty-six percentage points below the global average rate for 2019, despite successive and constant capacity adjustments made over the past year.
According to the company, these numbers result from the worsening of restrictive measures in all regions of the world, following the second and third waves of covid-19, as well as the identification of new strains of the new coronavirus.
In the short term and in a moderate scenario, IATA's projection with regard to aggregate demand in the markets where TAP operates (Africa, Europe, North and South America) for June 2021 foresees recovery of 63 percent of global traffic and 55 percent of international traffic, proving the slow recovery estimated, particularly in international traffic.
TAP projects, for the coming months, a capacity in line with the moderate scenario of IATA, read in the newsletter, signed by the company's executive president, Ramiro Sequeira.
“As a result, on 10 March, we adjusted our capacity offer by 10 percent less than the operation published in January for the first quarter of this year, due to the impact of restrictions in markets such as Angola, Brazil and the United Kingdom, resulting in a variation down 83 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019”, he says.
For the second quarter, he says, the projections are a little more optimistic, with the percentage of suspended capacity (ASK) expected, compared to the same period in 2019, gradually decreasing, with values of: 61 percent less in April, 58 percent less in May and 45 percent less for June.
These projections count on the positive evolution of the pandemic, expansion of vaccination and lifting of some restrictions on the mobility of people, as has already happened with Angola and the United Kingdom, he adds.
“As is evident, this scenario can change quickly due to the evolution of restrictions and impositions on people's mobility”, he warns.