Commercial flights within the EU are slowly recovering but still far off pre-pandemic levels

April 19, 2022

In March 2022, the number of commercial flights in the EU increased by 156% compared with March 2021. However, this is still below the pre-pandemic levels (-27% compared with March 2019).

In absolute terms, the number of commercial flights stood at 389,181 in March 2022, compared with 151,986 in March 2021, 296,362 in March 2020 and 530,400 in March 2019.

The EU countries with the lowest decreases in commercial flights in March 2022 were Croatia (-6% compared with March 2019), Portugal (-8%) and Greece (-12%). In contrast, flights decreased the most in Slovenia (-56%), Sweden (-45%), Latvia (-43%), Czechia (-42%) and Finland (-41%).

Since 2019, the impact COVID-19 has had on commercial flights traffic between the EU and its 10 biggest ‘extra-EU countries’ (UK, Switzerland, Turkey, U.S., Russia, Norway, Morocco, Israel, Ukraine and Egypt based on 2019 annual data) has been clear. After the unprecedented drops in April and May 2020, following lockdowns implemented across the EU and the rest of the world, flight numbers seemed to be on the way to recovery but recovery was soon stalled due to the different COVID-19 waves.

Compared with March 2019, commercial flights in 2022 remain below the pre-pandemic levels with all top-10 extra-EU countries, most noticeably with Norway (-34%), the UK (-29%), Israel (-28%), Switzerland (-24%) and Egypt (-19%). However, when compared with March 2021, there is a clear increase in traffic with eight countries: UK (+599%), Norway (+375%), Israel (+366%), Morocco (+236%), Switzerland (+230%), Egypt (+192%), Turkey (+121%), and the U.S. (+77%).

Due to the ongoing conflict, in March 2022, commercials flights with Russia and Ukraine came to a standstill: there were 52 flights with Russia and zero with Ukraine, compared with March 2019. In March 2019, before the pandemic hit, there were 14,493 flights with Russia and 5,414 with Ukraine. In 2021, those numbers had decreased 77% for Russia and 71% for Ukraine.

Source: Eurostat


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