31 JANUARY 2022


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Article from BTNews 31 JANUARY 2022

Air traffic figures 2021

NATS has published the air traffic figures for 2021 with the numbers much the same as the previous year.

The number of flights averaged just 41% of pre-pandemic figures despite shoots of optimism as routes to the US re-opened and vaccinated passengers were permitted to travel overseas.  Destinations were subject to frequent change, often with little or no warning. This of course had a negative effect on the market.

Overall, just 1,062,945 flights were managed by NATS in 2021, similar to the 1,028,254 flights in 2020, both significantly less than 2019 flight numbers, which were more than 2.5m.

December 2021 saw 69% of 2019 traffic levels as passengers travelled during the festive season. The busiest day of the year was 17 December 2021 with 5,346 flights (77% of 2019) and December was the third busiest month of 2021 with 130,070 flights handled. October was the busiest month overall in 2021, with 139,716 flights (61% of 2019), as travel restrictions were eased before the Omicron variant resulted in further constraints.

Several airports also gained their busiest day of the year in December: Heathrow on 19 December 2021 with 950 flights, Luton (385 flights) and Stansted (474 flights) on 17 December 2021.

Europe was 56% of 2019 levels compared to the UK’s 41%.


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