Airlines that have opted for significant capacity cuts may find themselves on the back foot, as demand is likely to return sooner than they think, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

The company’s travel and tourism analyst, John Vandesquille, referred to easyJet’s decision to reduce its fleet and staff amid the COVID-19 crisis, saying this could be misguided as international arrivals to Europe are expected to return to 2019 levels by 2021.

He adds that consumer confidence is returning as the crisis is slowly coming to an end and that a potential ‘travel itch’ from Europeans following months of lockdown should not be ignored.

“The pandemic will deeply modify the way we see travel. People are expected to be more health conscious. A post-COVID-19 economic recession is looming and it could have a significant impact on travel and tourism, but all this is unlikely to fully deter travellers,” says John.

He adds that, in a difficult economic context, low-cost airlines are the best equipped to make it out relatively safely.