Analysis of the airline industry between February and the end of April by IBA, which is well known for delivering independent, expert business analysis and data on the aviation sector, has shown that while both North American and Asian carriers have begun to bounce back in terms of utilization, Europe, CIS, Africa and Latin America have remained predominantly flat. Operating at 55% of pre-pandemic levels in February, North America and Asia Pacific are now operating at 66% and 75% of pre-pandemic levels, respectively, with over 80% of all flights being on domestic routes.
Conversely, Europe and CIS, which were operating at 27% of pre-pandemic levels in February are currently operating at only 33%. Utilization in Africa and Latin America, while both operating at over 50% of pre-pandemic levels, fell from February to April, and Middle East grew only marginally from 49% to 51%. Use of passenger aircraft currently lies at 60% of pre-pandemic levels, which is comprised of narrow-body jets operating at 60%, regional jets at 66%, and wide-body aircraft increasing from 42% to 52% of pre-pandemic levels between February and April.
At the other end of the scale, freighter aircraft usage has boomed to 139% of pre-pandemic levels, and charter aircraft at 124%. Optimism relating to the recovering market is witnessed through the expected arrival of 130 new airlines taking to the skies between 2021 and 2022, with 40% based in and around Europe, 23% in the Americas and 22% in Asia Pacific. The new airlines will broadly focus on short haul and regional market segments, with over 80 of the start-ups considering using narrow-body or turboprop aircraft, taking advantage of the current low cost of aircraft acquisition and leasing. IBA forecasts that deliveries of new aircraft will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025. While 747 aircraft were delivered in 2020, deliveries for 2021 are forecast at a modest 1,100.