Even the functional buildings at Santorini airport carry the iconic architectural aesthetic of the island, Source: Depositphotos

Commercial flights in the EU are down by 15% in July 2022

Commercial flights in the EU are down by 15% in July 2022

Greece is the only country that registered an increase, compared to numbers from July 2022

Last week, Eurostat published data on commercial flights in the EU showing a decrease of 15% in July of 2022, compared to pre-pandemic data from July 2019. All 27 Member States registered a drop, with Slovenia suffering the worst with a 41.5% dip in flights.

The only country to defy this trend was Greece, where Eurostat registered a 6.9% increase, compared to the 2019 high prior to the pandemic.

The most and least busy destinations in 2022

There are various factors that have impacted air travel in the European Union in the last few years, with the pandemic all but shutting down the industry for 2020 and 2021. However, as Covid restrictions gradually fell to the wayside, the Russian invasion in Ukraine plunged the bloc into an energy and inflation spiral.

Additionally, much of the tourism infrastructure, as well as airline travel has had a hard time ramping up supply in the summer months. The German company Lufthansa, for instance, has had to cancel thousands of flights in Munich and Frankfurt, some of the busiest transit airports in the world.

Commercial flights in Germany particularly might have also been impacted by the government’s 9-euro ticket policy, aiming to convince people to use long-distance rail instead. The policy introduced a 9-euro monthly pass for all public transport, including rail in June, with the measure set to end in September.

Additionally, in June, Hungary decided to put a tax on a number of businesses to collect on what Prime Minister Victor Organ deemed ‘excess profits’. Ryanair pushed back on the new tax, claiming that it would hurt the recovering tourism industry.

The countries that saw the best results for commercial flights compared to 2019 were Greece with a 6.9% increase, Luxembourg with a 0.8% decrease and Romania, with just a 2% decrease.

On the other end of the spectrum, in July Slovenia saw a 41.5% drop in commercial flight numbers compared to July 2019. After that, Latvia, with 38% and Finland with 28.7%.

commercial flightsCommercial flight percentage in July 2022, compared to July 2019,
Source: Eurostat

Commercial air travel is still recovering from COVID-19

Like a lot of industries, commercial air travel is still in recovery, after the world virtually stopped during the pandemic. According to Eurostat data, however, despite these seemingly bad numbers, things are looking up.

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, airlines started reducing the number of flights, where in February there were more than 460,000 and by April, they reached their lowest point at 51,000. The next peak came in August 2020, when they were able to reach over 320,000, and the next one was in August 2021 when the number of flights reached around 480,000.

Now it looks like commercial air travel is gearing towards another August peak, which promises to be even greater, as, in July, Eurostat registered almost 596,000 flights. Overall, the data shows that airlines are recovering from the crisis, albeit, somewhat slowly.

number of flights

Number of flights in the EU-27 from July 2019 to July 2022, Source: Eurostat



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