ForwardKeys: Israel-Hamas war slows the recovery of global air travel


ForwardKeys, the leading travel analytics firm, with several unrivalled datasets, has revealed that the Israel-Hamas war has not only had a negative impact on aviation to and from the Middle East; the effect is global, with the whole market slowing by 5 percentage points (p.p.) in the three weeks since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7th. Its analysis compared flight bookings (benchmarked against pre-pandemic levels) during the three weeks before October 7th with the same period after.

Looking at outbound travel, flight bookings from the Middle Eastern countries fell by 9 p.p. since the outbreak of war. From the Americas, they slowed by 10p.p., whilst Asia Pacific, Europe (including Israel) and Africa each slowed by 2 p.p.

From a destination perspective, the growth in bookings to all regions of the world has slowed down, with the exception of Africa, which has continued to recover towards 2019 levels. Flight bookings to the Americas are down 6 p.p., to Europe 3 p.p., to Asia Pacific 1 p.p. and to the Middle East 26 p.p.

Within the region affected by the conflict, Israel has suffered the worst, with many airlines having cancelled flights. In the period since October 7th, flight bookings plummeted by 155 p.p. (*A fall in bookings of over 100% indicates that in addition to there being no new bookings, there have also been cancellations, depleting the existing stock of bookings.) It is followed by Saudi Arabia, down 67 p.p., Jordan, down 54 p.p., Lebanon, down 45 p.p., and Egypt, down 35 p.p. Flight bookings to GCC nations as a whole have declined by 25 p.p.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, said: “This war is a catastrophic, heartbreaking, human tragedy that we are all seeing daily on our TV screens. That is bound to put people off travelling to the region, but it has also dented consumer confidence in travelling elsewhere too. As of October 6th, bookings showed that global air travel in the last quarter of the year, Q4, would reach 95% of its 2019 level, but, as of 27th October, the outlook has fallen back by 7 p.p. and stands at 88%. The equivalent change in outlook for the Middle East is much more sobering, falling back 16 p.p. to 110%, from 126%, before the war began.”



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