Prague Airport

European Q3 capacity now just 4% below pre-pandemic levels

Europe capacity focus

The all-important Q3 (July-September) period is fast approaching. Analysis of capacity data provided by airlines to Cirium shows that Europe has 393.6 million available seats. That is 96.2% of Q3 2019, mainly down because of the enormous intra-Europe market. While small, the exit of Flybe and Flyr in early 2023 did not help. Yet four of the 15 largest European airlines have expanded strongly: Wizz Air (Q3 seats at 144.1%), Ryanair (132.9%), Turkish Airlines (122.9%) and Jet2 (122.4%).

While Europe continues to recover, 15 countries have exceeded pre-pandemic capacity. Percentagewise, the clear winner is Albania (212.9%). This is because of Wizz Air, which now has 55.4% of the Albanian market – up tenfold from 5.4% in 2019.

Other considerable increases were made by North Macedonia (127.5%), Serbia (123.2%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (121.1%). It is not only smaller nations that have benefited. Of Europe’s top 10 largest countries (shown in red on the figure), five have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, led by Greece (114.8%), Turkiye (114.2%) and Portugal (110.7%).

Athens International Airport

European capacity recovery

Türkiye is now Europe’s third largest country market

Türkiye has 4.8 million more seats than in Q3 2019, almost fully because of international growth. Greece is next (+2.1 million). When combined with the slower recoveries of others, Türkiye has jumped two places to become Europe’s third largest market.

Aside from Ukraine, which has no Q3 capacity, the least-recovered nations are Belarus (49.5%), Slovenia (55.1%) and Finland (69.5%). However, Germany – Europe’s fourth largest market – remains the most impacted by seats. It has 8.4 million fewer available versus Q3 2019, mainly because of the domestic market (-3.8 million). It is from the exit of easyJet and substantial reductions by the two largest carriers: Lufthansa (-26.5%) and Eurowings (-63.3%).

Montpellier Airport