In 2023, the number of commercial flights remains below pre-pandemic levels by some 700,000 flights, despite a robust recovery as reported by Eurostat. According to the EU Office for Statistics, 6.3 million commercial flights were recorded in 2023, still lagging behind the seven million commercial flights operated in 2019.
Non-scheduled flights, charter flights, and other special flights represented 9.2% of all flights in 2023, with the summer months of June, July, and August recording the highest volume of flights. The months with the fewest flights were January and February, with around or less than 400,000 flights each. Among the top ten airports with the highest number of flights, Amsterdam airport had the highest total, with 453,000 commercial flights.
Air traffic to Europe has significantly improved in 2023, as indicated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). They revealed that demand growth has exceeded 99% of pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, international air traffic increased by 26.4% compared to the levels observed in November 2019.
Asia-Pacific Airlines saw the highest increase in traffic for November 2023, with a 63.8% increase compared to the 14.8% increase observed among European carriers. Despite economic headwinds, people are continuing to take to the skies, with international travel remaining 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels. The gap is rapidly closing, and domestic markets have been continuously above their pre-pandemic levels since April.
Overall, air travel is on the rise, with improvements in traffic and demand indicating a promising recovery for the aviation industry.
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