Worldwide flight operations among the Aero-80 carriers for the week ending Tuesday, June 2nd showed a modest 7.1% increase from prior week. This increase occurred despite a slight decrease (-2.4%) in scheduled flights. The real driver was a decline in cancellations (-32.0%) which allowed completion factor to rise 7.4 points, from 75.7% completion to 83.1%.

All Aero 80 Flights for May 2020

We attribute this to a couple likely factors:

  1. More Realistic Schedules - As carriers have reached greater understanding and acceptance of newly diminished demand, published schedules have become more reflective of these realities.  Previously, many carriers left published flight listings largely untouched and instead issued No-Op or cancellation updates as day of departure drew near.  Figure 1 shows that full service carriers have become the most consistent in this regard.  Figure 2 indicates that LCCs, as a group, have been more prone to premature optimism, attempting to push scheduled flights up but then cancel more flights later.
  2. Demand and Capacity Convergence - Recent traffic improvements, combined with capacity reductions, have helped consolidate greater flight loads and thus more often clear the threshold where cancellation would be economically advisable.
Figure1: Full service carriers have been fairly consistent and improving the % of scheduled flights they operate

Figure2: Meanwhile, LCCs show more erratic patterns, sometimes increasing published flights only to cancel more heavily later