Global flight bookings slide as Israel-Hamas war dents consumer confidence

The global travel market has slowed by five percentage points in the weeks since Hamas’ attack on Israel, data from ForwardKeys has found.

The travel analytics firm said the Israel-Hamas war has not only had a negative impact on aviation to and from the Middle East but has also had a negative impact globally.  

From a destination perspective, the growth in bookings to all regions of the world has slowed down, with the exception of Africa, which has continued to recover towards 2019 levels. Flight bookings to the Americas are down 6 percentage points, to Europe 3 percentage points, to Asia Pacific 1 percentage point and to the Middle East 26 percentage points.

Within the region affected by the conflict, Israel has suffered the worst, with many airlines having cancelled flights. It is followed by Saudi Arabia which is down 67 percentage points., Jordan, which is down 54 percentage points, Lebanon which is down 45 percentage points, and Egypt which is down 35 percentage points. Flight bookings to GCC nations as a whole have declined by 25 percentage points.

Looking at outbound travel, flight bookings from the Middle Eastern countries fell by 9 percentage points since the outbreak of war. From the Americas, they slowed by 10 percentage points whilst Asia Pacific, Europe (including Israel) and Africa each slowed by 2 percentage points.

Why it matters

The devastating conflict has dealt another blow to the post-Covid recovery trajectory as airlines reduce and cancel flights, and consumers show reluctance to travel to nearby countries.

What they said

Olivier Ponti, VP insights at ForwardKeys said: “This war is a catastrophic, heartbreaking, human tragedy that we are all seeing daily on our TV screens. That is bound to put people off travelling to the region, but it has also dented consumer confidence in travelling elsewhere too. As of October 6th, bookings showed that global air travel in the last quarter of the year, Q4, would reach 95 per cent of its 2019 level, but as of 27th October, the outlook has fallen back by 7 percentage points and stands at 88 per cent. The equivalent change in outlook for the Middle East is much more sobering, falling back 16 percentage points to 110 per cent from 126 per cent before the war began.”