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Accidental nationalisation of
the North Atlantic — September 2020

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The North Atlantic was the largest and most mature long-haul air transport market in the world, until March 2020. Since then it has in effect been shut down, operating at around 20% of 2019 capacity, which could profoundly alter the competitive landscape and regulatory framework.

The re-opening date is simply unknown, but it is now clear that a V-shaped recovery pattern is highly unlikely. The CEOs of various airlines have been pushing back on the year when 2019 traffic volumes will be recaptured: 2023 or 2024 appears to be the consensus at the moment. And even if traffic does get back to the 2019 level by 2023/24, it will be 15-20% below that expected and planned for in the pre-Covid world.


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