Air Travel Woes Put a Drag on Recovery: New Travel Health Index

Skift Take

The Skift Travel Health Index dropped for the first time in 2022, as the mess at airports and airlines is catching up with the industry.

During June, the Skift Travel Health Index dropped one point compared to the previous month. It is the first time since January that the Index registered a decline, and although small, it is significant in what it implies. Economic worries, mass cancellations at airports, and price hikes seem to be catching up with the industry. 

We are seeing a weakening of the performance in all geographical regions, with the exception of Asia Pacific, although the latter still has some catching up to do. Recovery here is particularly driven by China, which after repeated lockdowns is finally seeing some optimism.

The declining performance comes predominantly from the aviation sector, which has been hit by major staff shortages, especially at airports, resulting in high levels of forced flight cancellations.  

Data from OAG shows how scheduled seats in airplanes have dropped in almost all countries. Comparing data for seat capacity in July, as extracted on June 5 and July 3, shows that there are large amounts of seats scrapped. In Asia there still is lingering uncertainty about travel requirements, while in Europe airports have been unable to process the passenger and baggage flows. 

Difference in scheduled seats for July 2022, as scheduled on June 5 vs July 3

June-July diff % of total seats
Thailand -903,760 -20%
South Africa -321,151 -19%
India -2,666,739 -16%
Argentina -152,366 -9%
China -4,488,662 -6%
Germany -611,182 -5%
UK -646,882 -4%
Japan -563,941 -4%
Mexico -382,554 -4%
Australia -273,552 -4%
Canada -260,756 -3%
Singapore -60,332 -3%
Indonesia -287,396 -3%
Italy -327,747 -3%
Turkey -238,598 -2%
Brazil -225,574 -2%
France -198,341 -2%
Spain -204,817 -1%
U.S. -753,088 -1%
Russia -79,337 -1%
UAE 38,311 1%
Hong Kong 84,084 13%

Source: OAG

Flight search data from Amadeus, Skyscanner, and Sojern, however, shows that the bad press is also having an impact on flight intent. Searches dropped considerably, with our score for flight searches (which combines the performance as reported by the three data partners) dropping from 68 percentage points globally in May to 42 percentage points in June compared to 2019 levels. Europe dropped a full 40 percentage points from 107 (indicating that flight searches in May 2022 were higher than in May 2019) to 67. 

More analysis can be found in our June 2022 Highlights report and on our Skift Travel Health Index data dashboard.

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