European commercial aviation has seen a wide variation in terms of recovery after the pandemic. Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Greece, Portugal and Iceland were the top five performers in 2022, according to UK-based aviation analytics firm Cirium. Spain and Turkey, two destinations known that are highly frequented by tourists, ranked 8th and 10th respectively.
Only two European countries saw last year’s departures exceed pre-pandemic levels: Albania (18%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (14%). The UK ranked 29th on the list, with departures in 2022 being 25% down on 2019 levels. The country recorded more than 1 million departures in 2019, while in 2022 the figure fell to roughly 800,000.
Breakdown by country
Ukraine suffered the largest fall in flights; in 2022 there was an 85% drop compared to 2019 levels. Despite sanctions, flights from Russia were only down 20% of 2019 levels.
Additional findings by Cirium include:
- 42 European countries and regions ranked
- UK in 29th position with departures in 2022 being 25% down on 2019 levels
- The UK recorded over 1,086,833 departures in 2019, but in 2022 the figure fell to 816,854
- Ireland performed better than the UK, with 2022 departures being only 14% below pre-pandemic levels
- Only two European countries saw last year’s departures exceed pre-pandemic levels – Albania (18%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (14%)
- Greece, Portugal and Iceland neared pre-pandemic levels, with departures being only 2%, 4% and 5% down respectively
- Ukraine suffered the largest fall in flights, with 2022 departures 85% down on 2019 levels
- Despite European sanctions, flights from the Russian Federation were only down 20% of 2019 levels, which means flight levels recovered faster than in the UK.