The first confirmed cases in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa were reported in March 2014. At that time, the volume of airline scheduled capacity into and out of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone was similar at around 30,000 seats each month to and from each market. As data from OAG Schedules Analyser shows, it was five months before the impact appeared on scheduled air services but between July and November 2014, capacity was reduced to a fraction of the pre-Ebola levels.
Capacity to and from Guinea reached a low point in November 2014 as it was 45% of the March 2014 capacity level, but it wasn’t until February 2015 that capacity to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone reached its nadir with fewer than 20% of the pre-Ebola seats operating. Since then, capacity in each market has been rising steadily although it appears to be plateauing some way below previous levels.
In the process there may have been some restructuring of the market. Air services between the affected countries and Europe have been slashed and there are no longer any flights from Sierra Leone to the UK, France or Belgium, although capacity between France and Guinea, and between Belgium and Liberia appears to be recovering towards the end of 2015.
In our Trends Report outlook on 2015, published at the back end of 2014, we noted growth in African aviation had slowed down considerably and international departing seat volumes grew by 1.4% to 87 million, well below the 5.9% growth experienced in 2013. To recap on the affect Ebola has had in West Africa aviation, download our Trends Report whitepaper today.
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