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America and Europe are leading a slow but steady recovery in global airline seat capacity and travel, which is driving up demand for jet fuel.
Aviation fuel demand will not return “to normal” until at least 2023, analysts have said. But as the summer begins in the northern hemisphere, major destinations are re-opening, and tourists are eager to board a plane to a sunny destination this summer.
Globally, capacity improved by nearly 1 percentage point to reach 62 percent of 2019 levels, according to OAG data used in Bloomberg’s weekly flight tracker.
Global flight tracking service Flightradar24 tracked last Friday, June 18, as many as 92,095 commercial flights around the world—the highest number since the middle of March 2020.
In the United States, the aviation market has recovered to more than 80 percent of the levels before the pandemic, Bloomberg’s weekly estimates show.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration screened 2,030,577 people at airport security checkpoints on June 21, which was the sixth time in the last 11 days that checkpoint volume has topped 2 million, TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said this week. On June 21 in 2019, in pre-pandemic times, 2,716,428 people were screened, Farbstein added.
In Europe, the European Union white-listed the U.S. for non-essential travel into the bloc, while the UK this week added some very popular summer destinations to its green list that doesn’t require people to quarantine on their return to the UK. Britain added Ibiza, Mallorca, Malta, and Barbados, among others, to its so-called green list.
“I think Europe is probably going to open up a bit faster than we had expected,” Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told Bloomberg in an interview this week.
While the prospects for the aviation industry look rosier this year than at this time in 2020, a return of jet fuel demand to pre-COVID levels is still years, not months, away. In Europe, for example, refiners continue to blend jet fuel into diesel and still cap crude runs, consultancy FGE Energy told Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.