Coronavirus Has Wiped Out More Than 90% of International Flights

Apr 21, 2020

Airlines have cut international capacity to just half a million seats a week from an average of 5.9 million before the coronavirus shut borders and decimated travel demand, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide.

“There isn’t much more international capacity that can be dropped around the globe,” OAG senior analyst John Grant wrote in a post dated April 20.

Strong domestic capacity has at least helped stem declines in countries such as the U.S., Japan and Indonesia, though demand is lacking, Grant said, adding that nearly 9 in every 10 seats scheduled this week will be on domestic flights.

Total capacity for international and domestic routes has dropped to 29.8 million seats, down more than 70% from January, and could slide below 29 million next week as some more cuts are expected from major carriers. Nobody could have planned for nearly three-quarters of global capacity being cut in just 14 weeks, Grant wrote.

Falling through the 30 million capacity mark highlights how damaging the pandemic is to the airline industry, though it could now be “close to the bottoming out of the capacity crisis,” he said.



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