Travel

UK international flights down 71 per cent in 2021 – Business Traveller

Aviation analytics company Cirium has released data showing the number of flights to, from and within the UK during 2021.

A total of 406,060 international flights operated to and from the UK between January and December this year, down from 1,399,170 in 2019, before the onset of Covid-19.

The most flown international route was London Heathrow to New York JFK, albeit way down on 2019 traffic due to the delayed reopening of US borders until November.

Heathrow welcomed 78,820 flights over the period, with Stansted second on 32,070, Manchester on 29,690, Gatwick on 25,960, and Luton on 19,770.

Domestic flights fared slightly better, with a decrease of 60 per cent compared to 2019. Loganair operated the most domestic services with 32,830, followed by Easyjet (32,800) and British Airways (15,390). For comparison, in 2019 Flybe topped the domestic charts with a total of 87,020 flights.

The single busiest domestic route by flight numbers was the 31-mile flight between Land’s End and St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly, with a total of 2,330 flights, all operated by Scilly Skybus.

Overall the largest carrier by UK flights was Ryanair, with around 101,420 flights (equating to nearly 18.8 million seats), followed by Easyjet with 82,580 flights (around 14.9 million seats), and British Airways with 77,460 flights (equating to around 15.2 million seats).

The figures were published as Cirium revealed its annual On-Time Performance Review, which showed that ANA was the most on-time airline globally, with 95 per cent of its flights on time.

A special Platinum award was also presented to Delta for its operational excellence during 2021, in recognition of the carrier’s “outstanding performance considering the complexity of the airline’s operation, volume of flights, diversity of its network and other key operational factors”.

Commenting on the news Jeremy Bowen, Cirium CEO, said:

“Cirium’s On-Time Performance Report reveals a dramatic 71 per cent fall in international flights to and from the UK during 2021, as the aviation sector continues its recovery from the impact of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“Cirium analysis shows UK domestic flights have fared better with a lower reduction of 60 per cent, as the huge pent-up demand for restriction free flying returns – led by leisure travel followed by the more cautious recovery of business travel.”

cirium.com

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