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 hit immediately, yet the most recent figures on commercial flights show first signs of recovery.
The first impact on commercial air transport was visible in March 2020, with a 44% decrease in the total number of commercial flights in the EU compared with the same month in 2019.
With COVID-19 restrictions in full effect and changes in travel preferences, the most substantial falls in the number of commercial flights were recorded in April (-91% compared with the same month in 2019), May (-90%) and June (-84%).
During the peak summer months of 2020, there was only a partial recovery, with falls of 64% in July and 53% in August, with further decreases observed in the months that followed.
Although the first months of 2021 showed no signs of recovery: January (-68% compared with same month in 2019), February (-73%), March (-71%) and April (-70%), the situation started to improve in May (-67%) and June (-54%).
In absolute terms, the number of commercial flights stood at 302 200 in June 2021 compared with 663 000 in June 2019.
For more information:
- The source of this monthly data on commercial flights is Eurocontrol, a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. Data on commercial flights include scheduled and non-scheduled commercial flights (passengers, freight and mail) performed under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). For more information, please refer to the methodological file.
- Attention to methodological differences should be paid when comparing this monthly data with Eurostat data on passenger, freight and mail air transport collected within Regulation 437/2003. For more information about Eurostat data collection, please refer to this methodological file.
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