Europe and North America traffic is down, but new routes appear to be emerging

3 Mar 2021

According to WINGX tracker:

In February 2021, 143,709 flights departed European airports, down 74% on 2020 traffic levels. 5,651 aircraft were active across 177 airlines in February and flew an average sector length of 2.25 hours.

Chart 1 – Scheduled aviation departures in Europe, February 2021 vs February 2020

Click to expand

Internal flights in Europe remain the most frequent. Flights within Russia, Turkey, Norway, Spain & France make up the top 5 countries with the most departures. Internal flights in Russia make up a significant proportion of European traffic with 23,989 departures, down just 14.8% YOY.
United Kingdom – United States was the top international country pair in Europe with 992 departures, down 66.7% on 2020. Despite the huge drops in overall traffic, certain country flows have actually experienced growth.

• Germany to China, 244 flights (56.4% YOY increase)
• United Kingdom to China, 238 flights (114.4% YOY increase)
• France to Qatar, 145 flights (5.8% YOY increase)
• France to China, 129 flights (6.6% YOY increase)
• Italy to China, 105 flights (5150% YOY increase)
• Netherlands to China, 103 flights (8.4% YOY increase)

Chart 2 – Top 3 operators flying country flows mentioned above in Feb 2021 (Germany – China, United Kingdom – China, France – Qatar, France – China, Italy – China, Netherlands – China).

Click to expand

Narrow body aircraft continue to dominate the number of flights being flown. The Boeing 737-800 leads the way with 29,637 departures in February, closely followed by the Airbus A320 (17,816) and Airbus A321-neo (16,836). After EASA cleared the 737MAX for service again in Europe at the end of January, we recorded 26 departures for the aircraft in February.

North America

Scheduled commercial activity in North America looks healthier than Europe, but is by no means perfect. In February 418,292 flights took to the skies, down 51.2% YOY. Internal flights in the USA made up 80.3% of all flights in the region, down 44.5% YOY. Internal flights in Mexico and Canada complete the top 3 country flows.

Chart 3 – Top 5 operators in North America for departures in February 2021

Click to expand

Narrow body aircraft also dominate in North America, the top three in terms of departures are the Boeing 737-800 (54,464), Embraer ERJ-175 (45,648) and Airbus A320 (36,947). The busiest wide body aircraft in the region was the Boeing 787-9, recording 3,716 departures. Compared with just 26 in Europe, we recorded 2,733 Boeing 737MAX 8 departures in North America in February.

Flights departing Canada were down 81.5% YOY, however, they increased to destinations such as Qatar (116.7%) and Turkey (19.5%). Flights departing the United States were down 45.2% YOY, however, they increased to destinations such as China (56.5%), Luxemburg (35.3%), US Virgin Islands (33.5%), Dominican Republic (15.3%) and Taiwan (15.2%).

Chart 4 – Top 3 operators flying country flows from United States mentioned above in Feb 2021 (United States – China, United States – Luxemburg, United States – US Virgin Islands, United States – Dominican Republic, United States – Taiwan)

Click to expand

Chart 5 – Boeing 737 MAX 8 USA departure locations in February

Click to expand


The WINGX Daily TRACKER provides you with a daily-updated dashboard on all business aviation flights operated globally.