With only a short reprieve in 2011, European regional airlines have been in crisis mode ever since. The trend continues, but industry officials speak of a renewed sense of optimism, even though figures and individual airline cases hardly justify that mood.
When airline executives spoke of better fortunes waiting just around the corner at the recent European Regions Airline Association (ERA) general assembly, they were showing indirectly how desperate their situation has become. In the first half of 2013, the European regional airline industry continued to shrink. Passenger numbers across the 50 ERA members declined by 7.2%, and the number of seats offered was down by 10.1%. In the second half of the year, the contraction was expected to be smaller, but Europe's regionals are still far from a growth mode.