Air passenger transport - monthly statistics
Data extracted on 09 November 2022.
Planned article update: 3 April 2023.
Biggest recovery in the number of commercial flights in Q2 2022.
In the first half of 2022 there were 338 million passengers carried at the EU level, almost as much as in the entire 2021.
All EU Member States keep registering increasing number of air passenger transport in the first semester of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
This article describes the recent monthly development of commercial air flights and passenger transport by air in the European Union (EU), as well as in the EFTA countries Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and in the Candidate countries Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Türkiye. A distinction is made between national (domestic), intra and extra-EU transport, while looking at the evolution of airport traffic.
Biggest recovery in the number of commercial flights in Q2 2022
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world have taken a variety of restrictive measures since the beginning of 2020. The air transport industry was severely hit. As from the second half of 2021 restrictive measures have been gradually removed. That has encouraged people to re-start travelling by planes again and impacted commercial air traffic.
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic is still clearly visible in 2021, with large decreases in the total number of commercial flights (passengers, freight and mail) in the EU compared with the same month in 2019 (Figure 1). In the second half of 2021, there are already visible signs of recovery that are repeated in the first 6 months of 2022. In the second quarter of 2022, the smallest decreases compared with the same months of 2019 are from -19.4 % in April to around -16 % in May and June.
In the first half of 2022 there were 338 million passengers carried at the EU level, almost as much as in the entire 2021
Since March 2021, signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic were visible in air passenger transport. The number of air passengers carried have been increasing every month at EU level. The highest increases were observed in between May and June (+77.6 %) and June and July (+81.5 %). In August 2021 passenger traffic reached its peak with almost 60 million passengers carried. Between September to December 2021, three decreases were observed compared to the previous month; the only exception being a 2.5 % increase in October (Figure 2). Starting from January 2022 during which 31.3 million of passengers were carried, number of passengers has been increasing subsequently every month. The highest growths were observed between February and March (+36.1 %) and from March to April (+35.5 %). The highest number of passengers was recorded in June, with 84.1 million passengers, which was twice compared to the same month of 2021. In the first six months of 2022, 338 million of passengers were carried at the EU level, only 35 million passengers less than in the entire 2021.
In the first half of 2022, international extra-EU transport represented 45 % of all passengers carried at EU level, while intra-EU and national transport shares were 37 % and 18 % respectively. Taking into account that the number of passengers carried in the first six months of 2022 was four times bigger compared to the same period in 2021, substantial increases were observed for international extra-EU transport, with +426.4 %, followed by international intra-EU transport (+418.5 %) and national transport (+148.3 %).
Figure 3 shows that an increase in passenger transport was registered for every month of 2021 as well as for the first six months of 2022 compared to the same month of the previous year, with the exception of January, February and March 2021. February, March and April 2022 registered again large increases compared to the same month of 2021. It has to be noted that the number of passengers were still very low in 2021especially for February and March.
All EU Member States keep registering increasing number of air passenger transport in the first semester of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021
The number of passengers carried by air increased enormously in all EU Member States, EFTA and candidate countries in the first half of 2022 compared with the same period of 2021 (Table 1). the largest increase in number of passengers carried was recorded for Ireland in the first semester of 2022 comparing to the first six months of 2021 (number of passengers was multiplied by almost 14 over the period), Slovakia and Hungary (multiplied by 9) and Denmark (multiplied by 7). Iceland recorded the biggest increase (multiplied almost by 8) among EFTA countries. Number of passengers carried were two times bigger for Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. Relatively smaller – number of passengers tripled – were increases in number of passengers carried for Bulgaria, Romania, Luxembourg and France. For Norway and Switzerland, the number of passengers carried was multiplied by 4. Such impressive increases are also clearly visible when looking at the first and the second quarter of 2022.
Number of passengers carried in every month of the first semester of 2022 were higher or much higher comparing with same months of 2021. Among EU Member States, Spain recorded the biggest number of passengers carried in April (16.7 million), May (18.2 million) and June 2022 (20.2 million) compared to any other months of 2021 and 2022. It was followed by Germany with 14.8 and 16.3 million passengers carried respectively in May and June as well as by Italy with 13.9 million passengers in June. For EFTA and candidate countries, June 2022 was also a record month in terms of transported passengers. In Switzerland almost 4 million, while in Norway almost 3.5 million passengers were carried in the period. All of these confirms air transport of passengers being on a good recovery path from the COVID-19 pandemic.
All top EU 30 airports showed signs of recovery in 2022
Table 2 presents the evolution of air passenger transport in the top 30 EU airports. The ranking of the airports was established based on the total annual passengers carried in 2021.
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, that keep the first position in the ranking for the entire semester of 2022, increased of more than 275 % in number of passengers carried. The airports of München, Roma Fumicino, København/Kastrup and Stockholm/Arlanda serviced more passengers between January and June 2022 than in the 12 months of 2021.
All the airports in the top 30 registered an enormous increase in first six months of 2022 compared to same period of 2021. Between January and May 2022 Dublin airport recorded more passengers than in the entire 2021. It also recorded the biggest increase of 1139 % in the first semester of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021. Number of passengers serviced at Danish København/Kastrup and Spanish Alicante airport increased respectively by 578 % and by 528 % in the same period. The lowest increase was for Romanian Bucuresti/Henri Coanda airport (+181 %), 12 airports recorded increase between 200 and 300 % and another 12 – between 300 and 400%.
Source data for tables and graphs
Definition of 'passengers carried'
All passengers on a particular flight are counted once only and not repeatedly on each individual stage of that flight. This excludes direct transit passengers.
Exclusion of double counting
The national transport (included in total transport at country level) and intra-EU transport aggregates (included in total transport at EU level) were calculated excluding double counting by taking into account only departure declarations.
Notes on some reporting countries
- Türkiye: provides only flight stage data (Dataset A1 of the Regulation with passenger on-board information).
The content of this statistical article is based on data collected within the framework of the air transport statistics Regulation (EC) No 437/2003 on statistical returns in respect of the carriage of passengers, freight and mail by air.
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