Month by month, the trend continues as air traffic recovers to pre-pandemic levels. ENAIRE managed over 100,000 flights in January (103,579), which is just 28.3% below the average for the entire network for the same month in 2019, a record year for traffic before the effects of COVID took hold in 2020.
This figure means that ENAIRE, the national air navigation service provider, recovered 71.7% of flights in January compared to 2019 levels. This recovery in the number of flights in Spain is higher than the average recorded throughout Europe, which saw a decrease in January of 31.6% with respect to 2019.
A comparison between the flights managed by ENAIRE in January 2022 and those in the same period in 2021 shows an increase of 127.5%.
Domestic flights in January 2022 (26,962) exhibited the best trend, with a drop of 17.5% with respect to the same month in 2019, equivalent to recovering 82.5% of the flights compared to the same month in that year. International flights (57,604) went down by 26.7% compared to 2019, and overflights (those that do not depart from or land at a Spanish airport) fell by 42.7% to 19,013.
In January, every ENAIRE control centre continued the trend to returning to pre-COVID traffic levels. Compared to the same month in 2019, traffic at Palma was down 16.7%; the Canary Islands, 17.0%; Madrid, 27.7%; Barcelona, 28.6%; and Seville, 31.8%.
The recovery of air traffic in Spain exceeds the European average
Comparison with 2020
A comparison between January 2022 and January 2020, a month that had not yet been affected by the pandemic, shows a 26.5% reduction.
Of note in the January 2022-2020 comparison are the Canary Islands, which saw an increase of 13.1% in domestic flights and 0.1% in international flights.
Recovery plan completed
During the summer season, ENAIRE applied a Recovery Plan for Air Navigation Services based on the forecasts it was receiving from the European Network Manager.
With this Plan, which ended on 30 September, ENAIRE worked in close cooperation with EUROCONTROL to standardise operational criteria in preparation for returning to pre-pandemic flight levels while ensuring the quality of the services provided, while at the same time implementing measures to protect the health of its employees and essential personnel.
The Plan allowed air traffic control operations to be recovered in stages, based on the expected demand and scheduling criteria, and the efficient use of the available resources.
ENAIRE lowers its charges to help the sector
ENAIRE drastically reduced its air navigation charges in 2021 to speed the recovery of the aviation sector.
Of the 38 countries in EUROCONTROL, Spain, through ENAIRE, is the one that lowered its route charges the most in 2021, to around 8% below the average charge.
ENAIRE reduced its continental route charge in 2020 (-16.7%) and 2021 (-11%) by 26%, and in the Canary Islands (-12.5% /-8.5%, respectively) by 20%, thus helping the aviation sector to recover from the crisis brought about by the pandemic.
Moreover, until 2024, air navigation charges will remain below 2019 levels, a year in which ENAIRE was already operating with the lowest charges in the last ten years, and which were among the most competitive in Europe. As a result, the continental charges in 2022 will be 19.4% lower than in 2019, and in the Canary Islands they will be lowered by 14.4%.
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