Air traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels for the first time

14 June 2024

School half term holidays and the Champions League final in London contributed to the last week in May being the busiest week for UK air traffic since before the pandemic. For the week (which also took in the first weekend in June) there were more than 53,000 flights, an increase of six per cent on last year.

For May overall NATS, the UK’s major air traffic services provider, safely handled 227,552 UK flights, an increase of 5.9 per cent on May 2023.

The busiest routes were between the UK and Spain, France and Italy, all showing more than six per cent growth on last year. Transatlantic overflights are currently showing highest growth year on year of eight per cent.

NATS handled 24.5 per cent of European traffic in May with only 1.6 per cent of overall delay attributed to NATS, according to Eurocontrol figures. 98.6 per cent of UK flights received no NATS-attributable delay; the average delay per delayed flight was 11.9 minutes.

Kathryn Leahy

Kathryn Leahy, Chief Operations Officer

Kathryn Leahy, Chief Operations Officer, said: “We always knew May would be busy and the half-term week at the end of the month took a lot of planning and preparation, especially with the significant number of biz jets that came in for the Champions League final at Wembley.“I’m very pleased that we came through the challenge with very high levels of punctuality which gives us confidence as the summer starts to unfold.”

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