May 2021 Scheduled Aviation Overview

8 Jun 2021

All Insights drawn via WINGX Monthly Insight Dashboard

As travel restrictions ease and vaccination programmes continue, aviation activity continues to recover towards pre-pandemic levels. In May 2021 global scheduled aviation traffic was up 264% year on year, down 43% vs 2019. The United States continues to lead scheduled activity with 8 out of the 10 busiest airports in May in the USA. 5 US based carriers make up the top 5 airlines in terms of departures. In Europe recovery is slower, however, there is strong evidence of demand for leisure travel with over 200 flights from the UK to Portugal in the first week of Portugal being added to the “green travel list”.

North America
In May scheduled aviation departures were down 37% vs 2019, up 197% vs 2020. During Memorial Day weekend departures were 25% up on the 2020 Holiday but still 28% down on the Holiday period in 2019.

Chart 1 – Flights of top 3 North American Countries

Chart 2 – Flights of top 3 North American Airlines in May 2021 vs May 2019

In May scheduled aviation recovery is slower. Departures were down 68% vs May 2019, up 346% vs 2020.

Chart 3 – Flights of top 3 Europe countries in May 2019 vs May 2021

Chart 4 – Flights of top 3 Europe airlines in May 2021 vs 2019

United Kingdom – Portugal

On May 17th Portugal (including Madeira & Azores) were added to England’s “Green travel list”. Portugal being a popular tourist destination and arguably the most practical destination on the “Green Travel List”, saw a huge spike in demand.

In the week prior to its addition on the “Green travel list” we recorded 24 departures from the UK to Portugal. In the week commencing 17th May this had increased by 825% to 222 flights.
For the period of May 17-31st we recorded 694 departures from the UK into Portugal airports.

Chart 5 – UK departure airports into Portugal May 17th – May 31st

Chart 6 – Airline departures from UK – Portugal May 17th – May 31st

On June 3rd news outlets reported that Portugal would be moved to the “amber list”, meaning travellers would require self-isolation upon return to the UK. Portugal was moved to the amber list at 04:00 BST on June 8th, meaning arrivals must take two tests and quarantine for 10 days. For the Friday 4th June – Monday 7th June period we recorded 242 departures from Portugal airports to the UK. We will continue to monitor situation and report the impact of the “amber list status”.

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