In absolute terms, the number of commercial flights stood at 383,720 in December 2021, compared with 166,990 in December 2020 and 504,270 in December 2019.
The air transport industry has been slowly recovering throughout 2021. Although the first months of 2021 showed no signs of recovery: January (-68 percent compared with same month in 2019), February (-73 percent), March (-71 percent) and April (-70 percent), the situation started to change in May (-67 percent), June (-54 percent) and August (-31 percent). September saw a small dip (-33 percent), but October (-30 percent), November (-26 percent) and December (-24 percent) saw the closest return to pre-pandemic figures yet.
The EU countries with the lowest decreases in commercial flights in December 2021 were Croatia (-6 percent compared with December 2019), Greece (-8 percent) and Cyprus (-9 percent). In contrast, flights decreased by more than 40 percent only in Czechia and Austria (both -41 percent). The rest recorded decreases of less than a third.
Overall, when comparing 2019 with 2021, the country showing the most signs of recovery in terms of number of commercial flights was Greece (-29 percent), followed by Cyprus (-38 percent) and Luxembourg (-39 percent). On the other hand, Ireland showed the least signs of recovery (-64 percent), followed by Slovenia and Czechia (both -62 percent).
Furthermore, some EU airports recorded increases in the number of commercial flights compared with 2019. The largest increases in the number of commercial flights were recorded in Berlin Brandeburg (+13 521, +16 percent), Liege (+6 972, +21 percent) and Paris Le Bourget (+2 715, +8 percent). At the other end of the scale, the largest decreases in the number of commercial flights were recorded in major European air transport hubs: München (-261 020, -64 percent), Frankfurt/Main (-250 712, -49 percent) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (-247 959, -50 percent).