Air travel’s post-Covid recovery 'uncertain'

Analyst warns that aviation’s rebound depends on pandemic’s duration and economy

Moodys, which assesses organisations’ ability to repay their debts, has changed its view of the European airport services industry to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

Moodys, which assesses organisations’ ability to repay their debts, has changed its view of the European airport services industry to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

 

Air travel’s prospects of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic that has grounded virtually all passenger flights is “uncertain”, says one credit analyst.

European and US airlines have axed most passengers services in the face of travel restrictions aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

Paco Debonnaire, analyst and vice president of credit ratings agency, Moodys, said the pace of air traffic’s recovery will depend on the extent and duration of the outbreak and the damage to the global economy.

“But any prospects for a rebound are uncertain given the unprecedented nature and scope of the outbreak,” he said in a note published on Tuesday.

Moodys, which assesses organisations’ ability to repay their debts, has changed its view of the European airport services industry to “negative” from “stable”.

Consequences

The agency bases this on a calculation that coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, will slash passenger numbers by 30 per cent this year, with obvious consequences for airports.

Mr Debonnaire’s analysis came as lobby group Airlines for Europe welcomed a proposal that the region’s air traffic controllers would defer charges, due for the three months to May, until November.

Air traffic controllers charge airlines for guiding aircraft through airspace and aiding them in take-off and landing.

The airline lobby group, whose members include Irish group, Ryanair, said that it welcomed a proposal from Eurocontrol, the umbrella body for the continent’s air traffic controllers, to put off the February to May charges until November. However, the carriers argued that a full-year waiver would best support the industry’s immediate survival and aid in its recovery.