2022 was the year European aviation weathered the storm, with the year closing on 9.3 million flights: 3.1 million more than last year, even if still 1.8 million fewer than 2019, according to EUROCONTROL data.
That represents 83% of 2019 traffic, achieved despite the Omicron spike at the start of the year and the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. However, traffic steadily recovered to 86% of 2019 by May, with similar monthly traffic levels ever since.
Leading the airline recovery in 2022 were the low-cost carriers, overall 85% of 2019 with two top performers in Ryanair (109% of 2019) and Wizz Air (114%).
While Europe’s top airports mostly struggled to recover more than 83% of 2019 traffic, Istanbul iGA led the way in first place and around 100% of 2019 levels for most of the year.
EUROCONTROL expects 2023 total traffic will reach 92% of pre-COVID levels, with full recovery from the pandemic to take place in 2025.