International Airport Review

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK aviation industry’s recovery is still ongoing with the overall air traffic figures for 2021 showing continued volatility and changing little from 2020 results.

2021 air traffic averaged just 41 per cent of pre-pandemic figures, mirroring 2020’s 40 per cent average. This is despite shoots of optimism as routes to the U.S. re-opened and vaccinated passengers were permitted to travel overseas, although destinations were subject to frequent change, often with little or no warning. This often left little time for the industry to respond and as a critical part of the industry infrastructure, NATS had to remain prepared for traffic levels that frequently didn’t materialise.

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 2.5 million.

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