• Although the annual average was 55.3%, many of ENAIRE’s air traffic units in 2021 saw similar traffic figures to 2019 in the summer season in mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands, and in the autumn/winter season in the Canary Islands
  • Domestic flights fared the best, with an average recovery of 72.6%
  • In 2021, ENAIRE managed nearly 1.2 million flights
  • Air traffic grew 40% compared to 2020

ENAIRE, Spain’s national air navigation service provider, managed nearly 1.2 million flights in 2021 (1,188,943), which was just 44.7% below the average for the entire network in 2019, the baseline year for data comparisons, since
traffic in 2020 fell to very low levels as a result of COVID-19.

This figure means that on average, ENAIRE recovered 55.3% of its flights in 2021 compared to 2019 levels.

Although the annual average was 55.3%, many of ENAIRE’s air traffic units in 2021 saw similar traffic figures to 2019 in the summer season in mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands, and in the autumn/winter season in the Canary Islands This recovery in the number of flights in Spain is similar to the 56.2% figure recorded in Europe in 2021.

A comparison between the flights managed by ENAIRE in 2021 and 2020 (851,520) shows an increase of 40% (39.6%).

Domestic flights (315,438) exhibited the best trend in 2021, with an average drop of 27.4% compared to the 2019, equivalent to recovering 72.6% of the flights with respect to two years ago. International flights (626,507) went down by 49.9% compared to 2019, and overflights (those that do not depart from or land at a Spanish airport) fell by 46.9% to 246,998.

Cumulative traffic comparison January-December 2021-2019

TOTAL % International % Domestic % Overflights %

ENAIRE network
1,188,943 -44.7% 626,507 -49.9% 315,438 -27.4% 246,998 -46.9%

Madrid CC
631,679 -46.8% 299,304 -51.6% 135,610 -34.1% 196,765 -45.9%

Barcelona CC
542,501 -44.9% 351,505 -49.4% 134,505 -26.5% 56,491 -47.7%

Canary Islands CC
219,760 -38.6% 87,256 -48.2% 112,794 -24.7% 19,710 -49.9%

Seville CC
273,691 -35.8% 118,026 -42.9% 91,425 -20.6% 64,240 -38.7%

Palma CC
226,249 -31.6% 141,502 -36.8% 84,319 -20.9% 428 -26.0%

Note. The total number of flights operated by ENAIRE’s network does not necessarily match the total number of flights managed by each Control Centre (CC). This is due to the fact that a flight is registered according to the airspace and route it crosses.

For example: a flight departing from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport bound for Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat will be registered at the Control Centres in Madrid and Barcelona.

Trend toward pre-COVID levels

The trend toward returning to pre-COVID traffic levels was reinforced in the last few months of the year. Specifically, ENAIRE managed over 120,000 flights in December (120,142), which is just 19.3% below the average for the entire network for the same month in 2019.

This figure means that ENAIRE recovered 80.7% of its flights in December compared to 2019 levels.

A comparison between the flights managed by ENAIRE in December 2021 and those in the same period in 2020 shows an increase of 114.7%. Domestic flights in December (30,000) exhibited the best trend, with a drop of 10.3% compared to the same month in 2019, equivalent to recovering 89.7% of the flights compared to the same month in that year.

International flights (67,202) went down by 17.2% compared to two years ago, and overflights (those that do not depart from or land at a Spanish airport) fell by 31.1% to 22,940.

Positive figures in the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands

Domestic flights in the Balearic Islands (7,287) exceeded those in December 2019 (7,081), with an increase of 2.9%.
International flights in the Canary Islands in December (16,002) also exceeded those from the same month in 2019 (15,659), with an increase of 2.2%.

Traffic comparison December 2021-2019

TOTAL % International % Domestic % Overflights %

ENAIRE network
120,142 -19.3% 67,202 -17.2% 30,000 -10.3% 22,940 -33.1%

Madrid CC
72,873 -18.3% 40,547 -14.1% 13,540 -15.2% 18,786 -28.0%

Barcelona CC
48,840 -20.3% 31,029 -20.2% 12,811 -6.4% 5,000 -42.3%

Canary Islands CC
29,805 -5.4% 16,002 2.2% 11,281 -9.3% 2,522 -26.0%

Seville CC
24,624 -23.5% 12,736 -11.9% 9,080 -1.3% 2,808 -67.1%

Palma CC
12,440 -1.4% 5,101 -6.8% 7,287 2.9% 52 -7.1%

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%.

ENAIRE also photos

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